Politics

Political news

Senate Dist. 26: Mazeski vs. McConchie

Oct 27, 2016

The race for the seat in Illinois State Senate District 26 pits Democrat Kelly Mazeski against Republican Dan McConchie, who was appointed to the seat on April 20, 2016 to replace fellow Republican Dan Duffy, who resigned to take leadership of a child advocacy group. 

Mazeski has been involved in local politics for a decade, serving on the North Barrington Zoning Board of Appeals, Barrington Hills Plan Commission, and as a North Barrington Village trustee.

Democrat Corinne Pierog is challenging incumbent Republican State Sen. Jim Oberweis for the seat in the 25th Illinois Senate District. The race is a rematch of the 2012 election, when Oberweis beat Pierog by a wide margin to take the seat in what is considered a heavily Republican district.

House Dist. 63: Bartman vs. Reick

Oct 27, 2016
John Bartman Campaign Facebook Page / Steven Reick Campaign Facebook Page

Democrat John Bartman and Republican Steven Reick are vying for Illinois Rep.

House Dist. 68: Sweeney Challenges Cabello

Oct 27, 2016
campaign websites and social media

The 68th district includes portions of Rockford, Machesney Park, Roscoe, Loves Park, and Cherry Valley. This election features a political newcomer against a two-term incumbent.

Republican John Cabello was appointed to the 68th district seat in August 2012 when Rep. Dave Winters resigned. Cabello was elected to the seat three months later and has held the position since then.

There are seven Senate seats and 19 House seats from the WNIJ listening area on the ballot in the fall elections. There also are countless posts at the county level with only one candidate.

Three of the Senate races and eleven House races have only one candidate. That's 14 of 28 legislative seats in the WNIJ area where there is no opportunity to make a choice on the November ballot. In many cases, the lone candidate is the only person who has been on the ballot from the beginning.

You can find out more about each candidate by clicking on his or her name below.

House Dist. 71: McCombie Challenges Smiddy

Oct 26, 2016

Republican Tony McCombie is the mayor of Savanna, Ill. McCombie is a real estate broker with Mel Foster Company and the owner of Blue Appraisals, LLC, a real estate appraisal company that serves Illinois and Iowa.  

Her campaign cites agriculture, protecting second amendment rights, and education as top priorities.

House Dist. 72: Halpin vs. McGuire

Oct 26, 2016

Democrat Mike Halpin and Republican Brandi McGuire are competing for the Illinois House District 72 seat left vacant when incumbent Democrat Patrick J. Verschoore did not seek re-election.

Halpin was raised in Voorheesville, just outside the city of Albany. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Roger Williams University and law degree from the University of Illinois.

Senate Dist. 38: Benson Challenges Rezin

Oct 26, 2016
Candidate websites

The 38th Illinois Senate District race pits Republican incumbent Sue Rezin against Democratic challenger Christine Benson.    

The challenger in the 17th Illinois Congressional District is sticking with Donald Trump, in spite of a 2005 video riddled with Trump's offensive comments about women. Republican Patrick Harlan doubled down the Monday after the video went viral, saying Hillary Clinton would be worse for the country.

From the candidates' websites.

Greetings from Illinois' 16th Congressional District, where voters will find one U.S. House candidate on the ballot: incumbent Republican Adam Kinzinger.

This results directly from 2010 redistricting, when state Democrats -- who controlled the map making process -- packed Republicans into a half-moon around Chicago's suburbs, stretching from Wisconsin to Indiana. This made neighboring districts less Republican, but it created a nearly impossible environment for Democratic challengers in the 16th.

Johnson: congress.com/Feingold: madison.com

Two weeks ago, control of the U.S. Senate could be determined by a flip of the coin. Today, Democrats have a 70% to 75% chance of retaking the upper chamber.

That's according to Matt Streb, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University. Streb spoke to WNIJ about the Wisconsin and Illinois Senate races, plus eight U.S. House races in the WNIJ area. We'll feature those interviews each morning this week.

Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth, spoke out against Donald Trump after he made statements suggesting the presidential election was rigged, and that he might not accept the results.  

Voters often complain about not having any choices. But Illinois’s 17th district is at least one race with very different candidates:   Incumbent Cheri Bustos  from East Moline and Patrick Harlan of Galesburg.  

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is standing by Donald Trump, even as polls show the Wisconsin Republican trailing Democratic challenger Russ Feingold.

Northern Illinois University political scientist Matt Streb is watching this race closely. He says Sen. Johnson is limited to two difficult choices with Trump on the ballot.

City Clerk's Office -- Beloit, Wisconsin

Beloit City Clerk Lori Stottler says Wisconsin voters have another week to start the registration process online to avoid long lines at the polls on Nov. 8.

Being registered may not be a given to voters who only vote once in a while, perhaps just for presidential elections. That’s why Stottler says voters should check to see if they’re still registered, or even register again ahead of next month’s election.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

A new super PAC known as LIFT (Leading Illinois For Tomorrow) is spending a million dollars on ads tying Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to Donald Trump.

The group is led by Democratic  State Sen. Daniel Biss, who says the campaign is meant to inform voters what their ballot choices mean for the state's future. 

"And so, people across the state who are very concerned about what Gov. Rauner has done to politics in Illinois were generous enough to support this effort," Biss said.

Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images

After the wildest 48 hours yet in the presidential campaign, the second debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton began in the same fashion. The two even declined the traditional handshake at the outset, setting the tenor for the evening.

And throughout the next 90 minutes, the two interrupted each other, called the other a liar and lobbed plenty of personal digs.

A federal judge has ordered the state to investigate whether transportation officials have been denying people temporary photo identification to vote.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued the order Friday.

Peterson in July ordered the state to quickly issue credentials valid for voting to anyone trying to obtain a free photo ID for voting but lack the underlying documents such as birth certificates.

twitter.com/fighting15th

The head of the Illinois Republican Party says he’d like to see Donald Trump criticize Hillary Clinton more at the next debate.

Tim Schneider says Trump can be rude.

But the candidate spent too much time reacting to Clinton’s answers at last night’s debate, and not bringing up things like Benghazi, or Clinton’s emails.

"So to me, it’s an easy choice," Schneider said.   "I choose rude over wrong."

Schneider’s trying to unite the state party behind Trump when the Republican governor and Republican U.S. Senator won’t commit to supporting the nominee.

League of Women Voters

Tuesday, Sept. 27, is National Voter Registration Day.  It's a reminder that you can't vote if you aren't registered.

The deadline for Illinois residents to register outside of their local election office is Oct. 11, and the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford has scheduled registration events before then at several locations throughout the Rockford area. 

Patrick Semansky/AP

The first presidential debate tonight is shaping up to be one of the most-watched political events ever, with a potentially Super Bowl-size audience.

Here are four things to watch for as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take the stage at Hofstra University on Long Island.

1. Which Trump shows up

Donald Trump "won" the primary debates by dominating his opponents, often by name-calling and bluster. This one will be different.

It’s final. An initiative to change the way legislative maps are drawn in Illinois will not appear on the November ballot.

The Illinois Supreme Court voted 4-3 against a request to reconsider its ruling about the Independent Maps Coalition’s proposal. The coalition collected 563,000 petition signatures, with a goal of asking voters to decide whether mapmaking power should be handed over to an independent commission. Currently, the party in charge of the state legislature gets to redraw political maps after a new census.

Dan Klefstad

Labor Day is traditionally when political campaigns go into high gear. According to conventional wisdom, that's when voters start paying more attention to the candidates.

But this election cycle is anything but conventional. The major party presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, are well-known to voters but for the wrong reasons; both have high negative ratings.

What's more, the rhetoric from both campaigns is increasingly ugly, which has observers wondering if this will lower voter turnout in the fall.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says there are still serious issues facing the state, and he hopes a compromise can be reached so that Illinois can move forward soon.

Rauner reacted to a decision by the state's Teachers Retirement System to reassess the rate of return on pension investments. That reassessment means the state will have to pay $400 million more into the fund this year, and Rauner calls that devastating.

Dan Libman

This presidential election is the weirdest in living memory. Conservatives nationwide are scratching their heads over how Donald Trump became their nominee, while progressives are still unsure about sending their frenemy, Hillary Clinton, to the White House.

Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Democrats are working hard to promote awareness of the Republican presidential nominee.

    

Donald Trump polls far behind Hillary Clinton in Illinois.

Many local Republicans are keeping their distance, but Democrats want to push them back together.

At a Democratic meeting today in Springfield, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos linked Trump’s rhetoric with that of Governor Bruce Rauner.

Brian Mackey

  Illinois Republicans rallied in Springfield yesterday, but it was obvious one man is the driving force behind their party.  Governor Bruce Rauner. 

For the Republican Party faithful, what was once an annual duty to be endured has been transformed into an occasion for celebration. State Rep. Jim Durkin, the House minority leader, describes the pleasure of a state fair rally when it’s his party in the governor’s office.

U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives

Two big names in Wisconsin politics easily beat their rivals in yesterday’s primary election. 

Tuesday is Partisan Primary Day in Wisconsin, where the field of candidates for public office will be narrowed to one per political party for the November general election.

County, state and federal candidates are on the ballot.

What may be the most publicized race involves U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Janesville, who faces a challenge from fellow Republican Paul Nehlen of Williams Bay. Two Democrats – Ryan Solen of Mt. Pleasant and Tom  Breu of Janesville -- are seeking their party’s nomination. Libertarian Jason Lebeck of Janesville is unopposed.

Sorting truth from lies during any election can be a daunting task. But some educators see this election cycle as an important teachable moment.

Louise Basile chairs the social studies department at Boylan High School in Rockford.  “Students need to be taught to be critical thinkers about all experiences in life,” she says, “so they make informed choices and understand the consequences of them.”

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