Illinois GOP faces long odds to take Legislature


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Originally Posted Online: Nov. 06, 2012, 8:49 am
Last Updated: Nov. 06, 2012, 9:13 am
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Illinois Republicans faced an uphill battle Tuesday to try to wrestle control of the General Assembly away from the Democrats.

The GOP needed six seats in both the House and Senate to form majorities for the first time in either house since 2002.

Republicans hoped to resonate with their message that Democrats are to blame for multibillion-dollar budget and public pension deficits and unemployment near 9 percent.

But they were up against a ticket led by had to run against President Barack Obama, who is less popular than when he won in 2008 but still was expected to do well in his home state.

More importantly, the GOP faced legislative districts drawn by majority Democrats to largely favor Democratic candidates. The map was recrafted because of population shifts revealed by the 2010 Census. But even with all 177 seats in the General Assembly up for a vote, nearly half were uncontested and dozens of Democrats were assured victory.

The ballot featured some oddities. Former state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, was ejected from the House in August because of a federal bribery charge. He pleaded not guilty and has remained in the race while Democrats put forward a challenger in 10th District Unity candidate Lance Tyson, who's worked for former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

In the McHenry County area, Republican David McSweeney of Barrington Hills was trying to keep the former seat of the late Rep. Mark Beaubien. He had an unlikely opponent in Beaubien's widow, Dee Beaubien of Barrington Hills, who was running as an independent. She received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign money from committees controlled by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Bill Albracht of Moline was one of several Republicans trying to unseat entrenched Democratic incumbents. The former Secret Service agent, squared off against Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. Jacobs said he had 'delivered' for his district in the form of projects paid by tax dollars he brought back home.

Mindful of Illinois' Democratic leanings, many Republicans played up their independence and willingness to work with members of opposition parties. Decatur Mayor Mike McElroy, a Republican Senate candidate, did that while also criticizing his opponent, Democrat Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, for being an insider even though he's not an incumbent.

Manar was a Senate Democratic staffer for years and resigned as Senate President John Cullerton's chief of staff to seek the Senate seat just south of Springfield.














 



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  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

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1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.






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