* Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and I have been talking since the election about what happened to the two parties in the Chicago suburbs. He’s made some very strong points during our discussions, so I asked him to put together his thoughts during the holiday and he sent me this last night…
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. While ours was small it was actually nice to have a little down time. I used some of it to reflect on my race and others. House Republicans have a LOT to be thankful for. I thought I’d share some of my findings with you.
A “Blue Wave” definitely hit the suburbs. Republicans lost the two contested Congressional races. There isn’t a single Republican suburban Congressperson. The Illinois Senate [Republicans] lost a seat in their only contested suburban race.
But what’s most instructive is what happened at the county level.
Lake County Republicans lost every countywide race. So did Will County Republicans. Only one Republican countywide prevailed in Kane county. In DuPage County, Republicans won only one contested countywide race and the County Board flipped from 11-7 Republican to 11-7 Democratic.
The only outlier in the suburbs was the House Democrats.
We did lose two incumbents in the suburbs: Allen Skillicorn and Grant Wehrli. Allen raised about 10K and by most appearances he didn’t really run a campaign. It took $2.57M from Suzanne Ness to squeak out a 3-point win over Skilly.
While Wehrli lost, his fight was remarkably valiant. Janet Yang Rohr also spent over $2.5M to Wehrli’s $400k. But here’s the more amazing part. President Trump didn’t win a single precinct in the 41st. ZERO. I can’t think of a race where the fundamentals were so massively against a candidate and the candidate was still able to pull off a victory. Yet Grant nearly did. Forgive me for not being impressed by DPI’s two pickups.
Now, let’s look at our holds.
Remember all of the rumors of the House Dems picking up 5-8 seats? Well that’s because Stephens, Mazzochi, Morrison, Ugaste, A. Grant and I were all supposed to lose. The amount we were outspent by in those races was sickening. Yet we all won.
We picked up two seats in the suburbs: Chris Bos and Seth Lewis. Both were running against likable woman incumbents. Both were massively outspent. Seth wasn’t appointed to run until August, yet overcame roughly $2.6M in spending against him while spending about $400k.
It is clear that voters have had their fill of Madigan. The message worked well this election.
One of the best illustrations of this was in the 81st House, but it worked to our disadvantage. We had a terrific candidate running against Anne Stava-Murray — Laura Hois. She was one of our best walkers. This is the one race where we actually outspent the Dems. Yet we couldn’t make headway. A quick look at precinct totals show AS-M outperforming the Democratic countywides in overlapping precincts. Voters are tired of corruption. If they knew one thing about Stava-Murray it was that she opposed Madigan. Apparently, her opposition to Madigan was worth more than $1M.
Obviously the campaign team did a lot with the resources we had. They all deserve a lot of credit. Other than raising more money, we need to stay the course on our anti-corruption messaging. The people of Illinois are finally recognizing it!
…Adding… From comments…
Lets not forget that pre election talk was of the House GOP getting swamped and MJM getting into the range of 80 seats. And Madigan was spending every dollar he could get his hands on to make it happen. We have NEVER seen Madigan spend like this in a prior cycle.
Why? Because the more members he had, the better chance he had to stave off an insurrection. But instead of riding the anti-Trump suburban wave, he got left behind and lost seats instead.
If Madigan had gotten to 80, the 18 opponents would still be 2 short of depriving Madigan the votes to be Speaker, and the entire conversation about his future is far different today.
It’s the most impactful cycle the House GOP has had since 1994.