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More on the Champaign County blowout

Thursday, Nov 8, 2018

* Tom Kacich writes about the historic Democratic vote in Champaign County this week

The first Democratic county clerk since 1942, the first Democratic sheriff since 1934 and the first Democratic candidate for governor to win the county since 1936 were among the highlights of the stunning win in which Democrats took all five countywide offices on the ballot, all five statewide offices, added to their county board advantage and almost singlehandedly knocked off an incumbent Republican congressman. […]

Unofficially, 79,552 people voted in the general election, an increase of more than 24,000 votes over the last midterm in 2014. The vast majority of those new votes went to Democratic candidates, such as 13th Congressional District candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield. She got 40,656 — almost twice as many in Champaign County as the 20,451 that Ann Callis received in the 2014 congressional election. […]

Turnout in campus-area precincts was off the charts. City of Champaign 4, which votes at the University YMCA on Wright Street, nearly quintupled its number of voters — from 185 in 2014 to 906 on Tuesday. In Urbana, the number of voters in Cunningham 4, who vote at the Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall, increased from 155 four years ago to 691 this time.

But the number of voters was up in every other precinct in Champaign-Urbana, and Democrats were the beneficiaries even in Republican areas. The most Republican precinct in the two cities — City of Champaign 24 — saw nearly 200 more voters than in 2014. While Bruce Rauner won the precinct four years ago with 54.3 percent of the vote, he lost it Tuesday with only 43 percent. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, got 53 percent in the district four years ago but just 39.5 percent Tuesday.

Go read the rest.

* News-Gazette editorial

The results reaffirm an important aphorism — be careful what you ask for, because you might get it.

For starters, the idea of creating the office of county executive was largely Republican-driven. It was intended to be a means of getting around the Democrat-controlled county board with a chief operating officer elected by all the voters of the county.

If past could be counted on to be prologue, it was a reasonable tactic for the GOP to adopt. But the political plan behind the idea went up in smoke. Voters can only hope it proves to be better policy for the public than it was politics for the Republicans.

The other move that backfired was the decision of John Farney to give up the auditor’s office to which he was elected in 2016 to fill a vacancy at treasurer. As a consequence, both offices were up for election Tuesday and were won by Democrats.

* Related…

* McLean County remains red through busy midterm

- Posted by Rich Miller        

42 Comments »
  1. - VerySmallRocks - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    Champaign County may be a microcosm for Democrat success across the country. The challenge will be to keep the large number of new voters engaged so they’ll continue showing up in 2020 and beyond.


  2. - Practical Politics - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    How much did Rauner’s less than classy remarks about Champaign figure in the gubernatorial vote? Plenty.


  3. - DarkHorse - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 9:55 am:

    The Champaign County results call into question the conventional wisdom that Harold is a good candidate (though I have little doubt she would have been an effective AG if actually elected).

    Here is someone who’s been well-known in her home county since 2003, has run for office also in 2014, and asserts she has cross-over appeal to Democrats.

    She’s impressive but not relatable. One example of how she’s more of an elitist than a normal person: she keeps talking about her Harvard Law degree, when arguably the more impressive academic accomplishment is having been Phi Beta Kappa at University of Illinois.


  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:01 am:

    A lot of 20 year olds are liberal, or think they are.

    At 30-35, when they are married, have kids, bills and a job, they trend more conservative.


  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:04 am:

    Statewide, 4.37 million votes were cast for governor, 738K more than in 2014 and by far the most since the switch to midterms in 1978.

    People were motivated.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:10 am:

    It’s a beautiful thing, so many young people caring and voting.

    “At 30-35, when they are married, have kids, bills and a job, they trend more conservative.”

    I think it’s past time to get rid of the notion that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility. The federal deficit went up because of massive tax cuts to billionaires and GOP spending. Federal debt is up as well. We’ve had Illinois under Rauner, the Kansas Koch brothers debacle, Louisiana and Oklahoma also as examples.

    Since this is such a blue state now, we can look to other successful models, like Minnesota and California, for ideas. The youth who voted in such high numbers support a progressive income tax, marijuana legalization, health insurance expansion, etc.


  7. - Nacho - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    ==A lot of 20 year olds are liberal, or think they are.

    At 30-35, when they are married, have kids, bills and a job, they trend more conservative.==

    Based on longitudinal research of voting patterns, this is more myth than reality.


  8. - Birdseed - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    The promise to legalize recreational mj should not be overlooked as a strong motivational factor. It matters to a lot of people.


  9. - Real - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    Looks like Pritzkers money was needed to make more people aware of what’s at stake so Rauner could be defeated. Would of been hard for Biss or Kennedy to do that and increase turnout.


  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    Meatheaded racism might be less attractive to university students than it is to Fox-news watching retirees.


  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    @10:01. And when they have kids, they recoil at a president who lies, loudly, selfishly, and ignorantly

    Others have made the point, but the national Republican playbook does not chart a way forward in Illinois. If Republicans keep losing the collars, it’s game over.


  12. - Jocko - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    ==get rid of the notion that the GOP is the party of fiscal responsibility==

    GoM said it better than me. Over the past 20+ years, the GOP has become “socially conservative, but fiscally liberal.”


  13. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    I want to see moderate Republicans make a comeback in Illinois, people we need to help govern and have pro-business ideas that don’t rip away workers’ rights or slash workers. Rauner should have taken the Madigan workers comp offer and worked with Democrats toward incremental changes.

    Instead we have anti-union Raunerism, Trumpers and social conservative zealots like Ives. These are big turnoffs and Illinois voters said so.


  14. - Roman - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:28 am:

    Take note those of you who think Erika Harold should run for a legislative seat. She’s way out of step ideologically with her home county…and as Champaign grows, that gap grows.


  15. - Nesrly Normal - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:37 am:

    Big surprise in McLean County is that Rodney Davis lost the county to Betsy Dirksen Londrigan 3277 (36.85%) to 5617 (63.15%). Concerns about the effect of tariffs on agriculture and health care no doubt drove a lot of those votes.

    Although Rep. Dan Brady (R), a longtime representative (2001-), was re-elected over newcomer Benjamin Webb, instructor at Heartland CC, the fact that Webb garnered 42.44% of the votes may be a message to Brady. This is one of the rare times he has had an opponent and Webb did not have much of a compaign. Conversations I have heard is that Dan is not as responsive to his constituents as in the past. Complacency has no place in politics.


  16. - LakeCo - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    ==A lot of 20 year olds are liberal, or think they are.

    At 30-35, when they are married, have kids, bills and a job, they trend more conservative.==

    In my case, at 20 I was still parroting my parents’ conservative beliefs. By 30, I was thinking for myself and a Democrat through and through. Holds true today, even though I’m 39, married, with bills, kids, and a job.


  17. - Jibba - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:43 am:

    Roman…Harold’s conservatism turns me off, but previous comments about her future seem to relate more to potential avenues rather than voter desires. They’re right that she needs to start smaller than she has chosen, but as you say, she also needs to choose a district that fits her better, perhaps a nearby state rep or senate district that excludes the bulk of C-U but takes in surrounding rural areas that are quite red.


  18. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:55 am:

    @Anonymous @ 10:01 - Have you looked at the vote split by age of Tuesday’s results?

    From GOP pollster Kristin Soltis Anderson: The voters who were 18-29 in the 2006 midterm voted Dem at a 60% clip and in 2018 this group now 30-44 voted Dem at 58% rate.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/KSoltisAnderson/status/1060246627573731329

    As a 30-something married with a kid voter I find the conduct of the GOP just makes me more hard D Democrat with age. Just setting policy aside, do you think 30-something moms are happy their babies are growing up in a country with someone as vulgar and ill-mannered as Trump as a role model?

    I mean think about what the GOP has offered the 30-something voter in their lifetimes… nothing done on student debt except to make it easier for students to get ripped off and overcharged while it’s harder to get rid of that debt (and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy), a pointless war of choice in Iraq where the blood of their age group was spilled and the war was put on a credit card that their age group gets to pay for in 30 years with Medicare and Social Security cuts, dumb cultural fights on race and sex that have no resonance with the vast majority of their age group, etc…

    Getting back to the topic at hand, Champaign County’s blue wave relates a lot to the partisan realignment under Trump that is sorting white voters more and more based on college education with Dems getting the college educated and Republicans getting less educated whites.

    This is why the Dems winning DuPage makes sense and why they are going to keep underperforming in some old Dem places like Southern Illinois.


  19. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:55 am:

    === A lot of 20 year olds are liberal, or think they are. At 30-35, when they are married, have kids, bills and a job, they trend more conservative. ===

    Hey, they walked uphill BOTH WAYS IN THE SNOW to vote!


  20. - Don Gerard - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    The truth of the matter is the Champaign GOP is out of touch and arrogant. At my home (registered and voting Democrat) I received THREE identical mailers from the GOP Mayor endorsing the GOP County Board Member “shoe-in” (signs EVERYWHERE as he is head of local realtors) and he pulled 32% of the vote. In August Gordy said he wasn’t worried about lines at the Illini Union.

    The party conned at least two Democrats to run as Republicans promising an easy road to public service. In one case a County Board candidate was assured he needed 3,500 votes to win and he pulled 3,600 and still only had 44% of the vote (and this was in Southwest Champaign…no campus voters at all). Even the long-time County Board member who won in the most Republican of districts did so with only 51% of the vote.

    It will be interesting to see if the Democrats find someone to challenge Rodney supporter and Raunerite Mayor Frank Feinen in April.


  21. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    The arrogance of Champaign County GOP definitely comes through in Mark Shelden’s comments to the N-G dissing the people who voted against Republicans as “low-information” voters


  22. - DarkHorse - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:17 am:

    Dear Jibba and Roman,

    Harold’s self image probably prevents her from running for a lowly state senate seat. Her AG race enabled her to cozy up to GOP county leaders and financial oligarchs. We’ll probably see her next as the GOP Lt. Gov nominee, on a ticket headed by Ricketts or some other GOP “man of the people” candidate.


  23. - Suburban Mom - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:26 am:

    “At 30-35, when they are married, have kids, bills and a job, they trend more conservative.”

    It’s so cute that you think 30-35 year olds can afford marriage, kids, and things like homeownership, or have things like stable jobs! My PARENTS’ generation may have trended more conservative, but Gen X and Millennials have been SCREWED by Republican economic policies, and they know it, and have the endless student loans and non-union jobs to show for it.

    The older I get, the more liberal I get, because I know what Republicans want to do to my kids’ schools, and the state’s colleges, and how hard they want to make it for me to own a home or for my husband and I to have steady jobs with employment protections or to have health insurance that protects us from things like bankruptcy-inducing bills for emergency C-sections that our parents had to bail us out of.


  24. - MarkSheldenIsRight - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:44 am:

    The UIUC students who voted straight ticket ballots don’t know anything about any of the local elected officials they voted out of office. That’s the very definition of mindless straight party balloting or low information voting.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    ===The UIUC students who voted straight ticket ballots don’t know anything about any of the local elected officials they voted out of office. That’s the very definition of mindless straight party balloting or low information voting.===

    They knew enough that their vote mattered, and the GOP is not, in their eyes, representing their views.

    Maybe instead of blaming the voters, the GOP needs to realize the gaps we have in age, race, and now gender.

    What’s next… a “test” to see if voters “know things”…


  26. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    –That’s the very definition of mindless straight party balloting or low information voting.–

    Surprising that a big-brain like you doesn’t know that Illinois ended straight-party balloting in 1998.


  27. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    Wordslinger–You beat me to the info on straight-party balloting! Not in Illinois–have to vote for each!! Had a couple of voters ask on Tuesday about where to vote straight-party on the electronic touchscreen.


  28. - jake - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 1:05 pm:

    Another remarkable thing about the folk who won county wide offices in Champaign County is that not only are they not Democrats, but not a single one of the five is a straight white male. This adds to how great this is.


  29. - EconMom - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    I spent some time canvassing for Betsy and heard from many people (who answered their doors!) that for the first time in their lives they were going to vote a straight Democratic (not “Democrat”) ticket


  30. - lollinois - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 1:28 pm:

    == The UIUC students who voted straight ticket ballots don’t know anything about any of the local elected officials they voted out of office. ==

    Great quote in Kacich’s article about the Champaign GOP ticket not doing enough to distance themselves from Raunerism and Trumpism. If they had tried to make the distinction, you may have seen at least some crossover. No 20ish student voter is going to put much thought into the down ballot races unless they have reason to believe they’re different from the policies at the top.


  31. - TooManyJens - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 1:54 pm:

    ==Champaign County may be a microcosm for Democrat success across the country. The challenge will be to keep the large number of new voters engaged so they’ll continue showing up in 2020 and beyond.

    I’m happy to report that there are several grassroots organizing efforts here that are in it for the long haul.


  32. - Wrong about the students, myself - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    I passed out Dem info on Tuesday at one of the near-campus polling places, where many students were voting. I was originally unhappy with this assignment as I didn’t really want to deal with UI students, whom I perceived as less-serious voters. I was wrong. I spoke with many of them, and to a student, they knew exactly what and who they were voting for. They were polite and well-informed, they thanked me for standing out there in the cold and doing this, and I was even offered cookies. There may well have been low-info student voters out there, but I didn’t encounter them. I’m grateful to every one of them for shattering my preconceptions.


  33. - kitty - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 2:37 pm:

    hisgirlfriday & Suburban Mom, spot on and your sentiments are exactly those shared by my Millennial kids who voted Dem for nearly every race. Shamefully, some persons who I assess were older Boomers or maybe Silent generation callers to WDWS this morning implied that students shouldn’t have the ability to vote in communities where they attend college, a desire to revisit the shameful Denny Bing voter suppression era. As a Boomer, I am proud of the Millennials for making their voices be heard thru the ballot box. In states where the GOP can impose policy, it will almost always impose RTWFL, attack prevailing wage laws, cut social programs to provide tax breaks for the wealthiest corporate interests and attack worker protections that Millenials need as they enter what should be their peak earning years.


  34. - The Operative - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    On the other hand, Macon County was the complete opposite here. $126,850.00 in Rock Island Dem Money and they lost 3 out of 3 county wide seats. Lost control of the County Board. The only statewide candidate that won in Macon was Jesse White. Everyone else got killed. And speaking of the 13th, if it was almost won in Champaign, it was lost in Macon. 6700 total votes down in Macon County. Half of that would have won the entire race. If I was the Chair of Macon County, I’d think about stepping down. That’s just an embarrassing performance especially with all the extra cash.


  35. - jake - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    I meant to say “Not only are they all Democrats……”


  36. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    There’s simply a realignment happening for the Dem coalition.

    A lot of old-time Dems in places like Macon County and Madison County are still riding that Trumo train. They like the tariffs and anti-immigrant fervor and aren’t comfortable at where Dems have gone on gays nor do are they repelled by racism in political campaigning.

    The same things that make voters in DuPage or Champaign County go Dem are making Macon County and Madison County go red at a national level.


  37. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    ===shouldn’t have the ability to vote in communities where they attend college===

    Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot lately too. They live there. They are pumping huge money into those communities. Many of them also work there. They are not imprisoned, so they have the right to vote. People who don’t want them to vote in their towns should move.


  38. - CEA - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 6:21 pm:

    It’s ironic that in a County where local Democrats benefit so much from student turnout, the most liberal body in the County–the Urbana City Council–for decades has punished them by cracking the student population on the ward map, dividing them among four wards as ballast rather than providing a route for them to gain representation on the Council themselves, either by creating a campus ward or adding two or three at-large seats as is the case in Champaign. With political involvement among younger Americans apparently back in ascendance, it will be interesting to see whether this constituency presses the Council to address this long-standing inequity at the next redistricting.


  39. - Cadillac - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 8:28 pm:

    === - CEA - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 6:21 pm:

    It’s ironic that in a County where local Democrats benefit so much from student turnout, the most liberal body in the County–the Urbana City Council–for decades has punished them by cracking the student population on the ward map, dividing them among four wards as ballast rather than providing a route for them to gain representation on the Council themselves, either by creating a campus ward or adding two or three at-large seats as is the case in Champaign. With political involvement among younger Americans apparently back in ascendance, it will be interesting to see whether this constituency presses the Council to address this long-standing inequity at the next redistricting. ===

    Great post.


  40. - revvedup - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:32 pm:

    The Republican brand simply has so little to offer the average person anymore that the Democrats finally got the party together (well, enough to win..remember Adlai Stevenson’s famous comment about being a Dem) and swept contests like Champagign County. In Illinois the R-Party suffered under 4 years of Rauner Republicanism, losing members and interest in their message.


  41. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 8, 18 @ 10:48 pm:

    It was a RED wave in the southern 25 counties thanks to Donald Trumps visit to the region. Even Rauner won these Counties.


  42. - k8w - Friday, Nov 9, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    If Harold truly wants to serve, perhaps she should start with a run for a city council or county board seat.


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