Editorial: Primaries set the stage for a momentous November election; start preparing now

  • Hand sanitizer and stickers were the order of the day for voters at polling places for primaries in the city, suburbs and throughout the state Tuesday.

    Hand sanitizer and stickers were the order of the day for voters at polling places for primaries in the city, suburbs and throughout the state Tuesday. Associated Press Photo

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 3/20/2020 5:17 PM

We have made it through one of the most challenging primary elections Illinois and the suburbs have seen for generations. Now, the task for voters is to build on the decisions reached Tuesday to chart a course for the future in campaigns sure to be influenced by a devastating national health crisis and a suddenly tenuous economy. It's important, even with all the upheaval COVID-19 has introduced into our lives, to begin paying attention to races at the local, state and national levels that will help determine how we navigate the coming stages of this crisis and influence our quality of life for years to come.

From all appearances, we're headed for a faceoff for U.S. president between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, and the impact of that contest cannot be overstated. But Tuesday's primary also set the stage for important races at levels closer to home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While his bid to unseat the four-term incumbent and No. 2-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate in a solidly Democratic state may rightly be qualified as quixotic, it will be interesting to see if former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran can mount a credible challenge to Dick Durbin and help Republicans protect against the minority party flipping control of the Upper Chamber. It could be a major statement if he does.

More-likely indicators of the direction of the country may be found in Illinois' 6th and 14th congressional districts. The 6th pits independent-minded and solidly conservative Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives against progressive liberal one-term incumbent Congressman Sean Casten, who wrested the seat from decades of Republican control in 2018. Similarly, familiar conservative stalwart state Sen. Jim Oberweis hopes to pull the once-reliably Republican 14th District seat back into the GOP fold after Democrats claimed it with the 2018 victory of Lauren Underwood.

In Cook County, Democratic incumbent Kim Foxx would be a presumed shoo-in for the race for state's attorney in other election years, but with the sting of the Jussie Smollett scandal still warm, Republicans have a chance to do some flipping of their own in November with a solid one-on-one matchup with challenger Patrick W. O'Brien.

At the legislative level, one of the few suburban seats still in Republican hands will be open to a challenge after Oberweis's departure from the 25th District Senate post to make a run for Congress. Jeanette Ward, a West Chicago Republican, will face off against West Chicago Democrat Karina Villa, who is making a shift for a Senate bid after just a single term in the state House representing District 49.

These races and perhaps a handful of others will get lots of attention from political punditry because of their makeup and their implications. But more importantly, they reflect the issues at stake in every race on the ballot. From the president of the United States on down to county recorder, we have momentous decisions before us throughout the suburbs. The coronavirus and unsettling economic conditions surely will command much of our attention, but let's not lose sight of the long-term consequences that will follow the decisions facing us in November.

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