Suburban gains help push General Assembly to Democratic supermajorities

  • The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield will be led by Democrat supermajorities this term.

    The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield will be led by Democrat supermajorities this term. associated press

Updated 11/7/2018 5:57 PM

On their way to an Illinois House supermajority of 71, Democrats picked up at least five suburban House seats, had a slim lead in another, and were neck-and-neck in one more.

At least two suburban seats flipped to the Democrats in the Illinois Senate, expanding a supermajority there.


GOP campaign consultant Collin Corbett said dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump coupled with a split between Illinois GOP factions made for "a blue tsunami throughout much of the state, especially the suburbs."

In the House, Democrat Terra Costa Howard wrested the 48th District from GOP stalwart Peter Breen; West Chicago Democrat Karina Villa beat Aurora Republican Tonia Khouri in the 49th, where Republican Mike Fortner is retiring; Democrat Mark Walker beat Republican Eddie Corrigan in the 53rd, where Republican David Harris is retiring; Democrat Joyce Mason defeated Republican incumbent Sheri Jesiel in the 61st; and Democrat Anne Stava-Murray took the 81st away from Republican incumbent David Olsen.

The two new Senate Democrats from the suburbs are Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights, who beat Republican incumbent Tom Rooney of Rolling Meadows, and Suzy Glowiak of Western Springs, who beat Republican incumbent Chris Nybo of Elmhurst.

"We had a weird night," said Kevin Fitzpatrick, a campaign adviser to several Republican candidates including Nybo and Breen. "Good government suffered some severe casualties, let me put it that way. I would say it was an emotionally charged cycle. That's fair."

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Democrat Diane Pappas holds a narrow lead over incumbent Republican Christine Winger in the 45th, and the 51st is too close to call with Democrat Mary Edly-Allen and Republican Helene Miller Walsh separated by two votes in a seat Miller Walsh was appointed to in August.

Democrats said they won the support, rather than Republicans losing it.

"Our district doesn't actually look the way many people thought that it did. And I think Democrats went old school. We knocked on doors. We listened to people," said Costa Howard. "We met with people in every corner of the 48th District. That's what did it."

• Daily Herald staff writers Justin Kmitch, Russell Lissau, Lauren Rohr, Susan Sarkauskas, Marie Wilson and Mick Zawislak contributed to this story.

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