* Tribune editorial board…
Two years ago, when voters nationwide delivered a stinging rebuke to a Democratic president and his party, the state of Illinois was a deep blue outlier: Not even the lingering scent of the Rod Blagojevich scandal could cost Democrats the governorship or either chamber in the General Assembly.
That left House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to parlay their clout into new district maps intended to solidify their majorities.
Tuesday’s election results represented what one GOP strategist late Tuesday soberly called “a bloodbath for Illinois Republicans” at the Statehouse.
With the defeat of four House Republican incumbents and a net gain of seven seats, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) secured a 71-47 veto-proof majority in the Illinois House.
The results were similar — and more historic — in the Senate for Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), who picked up a net gain of five seats, giving him a 40-19 veto-proof majority.
Those stunning gains also figure to weaken Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who no longer will have the capability of singlehandedly blocking legislation with his veto pen.
“The map the Democrats drew performed as they designed,” said Patty Schuh, a spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).
The effect of the Democratic-friendly legislative maps coupled with President Barack Obama’s huge numbers mean DuPage County will be represented by a Democrat in the state Senate for the first time in Illinois history.
As I told subscribers this morning, it wasn’t just the map.
I mean, c’mon, Bill Foster defeated Judy Biggert by 15 points. She lost DuPage County. Mitt Romney lost DuPage County. Skip Saviano lost DuPage County. Tammy Duckworth won DuPage.
This goes well beyond the map. Bobby Schilling was beaten by almost 7 points. Brad Schneider edged by Bob Dold. And David Gill hasn’t yet conceded because the race is still pretty close.
The map definitely put those districts into play. But Schilling did just about everything right for the past two years. Dold fit his district’s profile. Gill was considered unelectable just a few months ago.
And it wasn’t all about Obama, either. Yes, he most certainly helped in these districts, particularly with Cheri Bustos. But Obama received a lower percentage this time than he’s ever received running statewide.
On top of the map, on top of Obama, there’s a real Republican brand problem here this year. The party constantly foams at the mouth and eagerly parrots the Tribune’s more inane goofiness, but doesn’t offer solutions. Their leaders stand by in mute silence while high-profile candidates like Joe Walsh spew utter nonsense about women. And they continually nominate unelectable and very unattractive candidates in their primaries.
But, even then, even with all that, this is still an historic and incredibly unusual across-the-board drubbing.
What do you think happened?