Politics

Political news

Amato For State's Attorney / Facebook

One candidate pulled ahead in a pack of three in the race for the Republican nomination for DeKalb County State’s Attorney.

Rick Amato has about 44 percent of the vote. Former State’s Attorney Clay Campbell has about 31 percent of the vote while Chuck Rea has 25 percent.

The winner faces Democrat Richard Schmack in the general election in November. He ran unopposed.

Wikimedia

The stakes are high for candidates in Illinois. Races are expected to be tight from the presidential nominations right down to state legislative contests.

Even if you've moved or haven't yet registered to vote, there's still time.

Illinois politicians have voted in recent years, to make it easier for Illinois residents to vote them in (or out) of office.

This is the first time voters statewide can take advantage of being able to register on Election Day.

Five candidates for president weighed in on the violent clashes in Chicago at a planned Friday night rally for Republican frontrunner Donald Trump.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is a Republican who favors gun control and strong environmental protections.

You read that right. If you're surprised, that's because Kirk belongs to a dying breed -- a moderate Republican during a time when GOP candidates are trying to get to the right of each other on issues from abortion to immigration.

So it's not surprising that Kirk faces a primary challenge from conservative James Marter, a Peoria County businessman.

If you’d like to prepare for your votes in the Illinois Primary on Tuesday, WNIJ News offers these links to help you be informed about all the issues.

Compiled below – county by county – are links that will allow you to view the sample ballots that may affect you.

Following those listings are links to the campaign websites of contenders in contested state and federal primaries. Candidates for state Senate and House, or Congressional races for the U.S House or Senate, who are running without primary opposition are not included.

U.S. Department of State

Some voters in the northern suburbs say presidential primary results in Michigan have them a little wary about Hillary Clinton’s chances in Illinois. 

In the latest Chicago Tribune poll, the former Secretary of State is beating Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by a more than 2 to 1 margin.

Fox Lake social studies teacher Colleen Schoenberger brought her daughter to the Clinton rally in Vernon Hills last night. Schoenberger says Sanders’s unexpected victory in Michigan concerns her.

Wikipedia

Voters in the 16th Illinois Congressional District must be happy with Adam Kinzinger. The Republican incumbent has no primary challenger, and Democrats fielded no candidate so far.

Kinzinger took 71% of the vote in the last General Election in this heavily Republican district. Democrats, who controlled the remapping process, packed the 16th with GOP voters to make the neighboring 17th District more Democratic.

State of Illinois

A federal lawsuit claiming sexual harassment by former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford names four other staffers who allegedly complained of unwanted sexual advances by the one-time gubernatorial hopeful.

Edmund Michalowski filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in February 2014 that destroyed Rutherford's Republican bid for governor against eventual winner Bruce Rauner. Rutherford claimed it was a dirty political trick.

Northern Illinois University

One of Illinois’ most Republican Congressional districts, the 14th, was created by Democrats who controlled the redistricting process in 2010.

The party’s map-makers packed GOP voters into this district in an effort to make neighboring districts more Democratic. So it was little surprise when the incumbent, Randy Hultgren, took 65% of the vote in 2014. He has no opponent in the March 15th primary.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

 It’s International Women’s Day. The YWCA of Rockford celebrated a little early Monday with a luncheon featuring Equal Pay Activist Lilly Ledbetter. 

Illinois' 6th Congressional District pits a leader in the House Republican caucus against a GOP insurgent who blends Donald Trump-like rhetoric with a Tea-Party platform.

The seat is held by Peter Roskam, first elected in 2006. This year he faces a primary challenge from Gordon "Jay" Kinzler, a Glenn Ellyn surgeon and Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserve.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says 15th District Congressman John Shimkus can play a role in promoting his “Turnaround Agenda” in Washington.

The governor is campaigning with Shimkus today in a six-city tour of the 15th Congressional District that began in Mahomet Monday morning.

Rauner calls Shimkus a model for a party that seeks to help small business owners and farm families. The governor says Shimkus has helped Republicans in their fight against longtime Democratic House Speaker.

SIUE.edu

Sen. Bernie Sanders' call for free higher education is resonating on an Illinois college campus facing deep cuts in state funding amid an eight-month budget impasse.

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke Friday morning at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where the primarily student audience packed a 4,000-seat campus basketball arena, including on the gym floor and outer hallways. 

Sanders touched on familiar campaign themes, calling for campaign finance reform, marijuana decriminalization and increased corporate taxes. 

Durbin.senate.gov

The senior U.S. Senator from Illinois says the nation is locking up too many people for far too long. He hopes to change that soon.

Democrat Dick Durbin has worked with Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa on the sentencing reform and corrections act.

Durbin says the act would ease mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that don't involve guns, gangs, or violence. He says he believes the U.S. overreacted with the war on drugs and other "get tough on crime" measures.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

A majority of Illinois voters do not believe the state is headed in the right direction. 

That's according to a new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

When 1,000 voters were asked if they believe Illinois is on the "right track," 84 percent of them answered "no."

That comes as Illinois is in the midst of a historic budget impasse, which may have affected voters' opinion of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The politics surrounding the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court may threaten the notion of judicial impartiality. That is, until you realize how political the high court really is.

Few things are more partisan than a justice's decision to retire, says Artemus Ward, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University.

Illinois House Democrats / juliana-stratton.com

An attack ad showing the old mug shot of Illinois state representative Ken Dunkin is the subject of a contentious debate.

Incumbent Ken Dunkin is on the outs with his fellow Democrats. That’s because he’s the only Democrat to side with the Republican Governor on some big issues.

At a South Loop debate last night, Dunkin asked his opponent how she could be for criminal justice reform but still hammer him on a mug shot from his past.

Michael Vadon / cc by SA 2.0

Bernie Sanders will bring his Democratic presidential campaign to Chicago Thursday. He's scheduled to hold a rally at Chicago State University at 6:00 p.m.

Chicago State is eliminating spring break to ensure students finish the semester. The school may be forced to close because of dire finances. Chicago State and other schools haven't received state money for months because of the budget stalemate.

Ken Hammond / USDA

Republican Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says President Obama should nominate a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

In a Chicago Sun-Times column posted Monday, Kirk says the constitution gives the president -- Republican or Democrat -- the right to send a nominee to the Senate. He says he swore an oath to uphold the constitution, "not to a party or any one individual.'' 

Kirk says Obama should select someone "who can bridge differences.''

Illinois Ranks High For African-American Voting

Feb 22, 2016
Cory Doctorow / Flickr CC by 2.0

A recent study ranks Illinois near the top when it comes to African-American voter engagement.  The state was ranked 10th out of 48 states studied by WalletHub a personal finance site.

  The site reached that conclusion by using six metrics to determine each state’s overall standing.

Flickr user Marc Nozell / "Ted Cruz" (CC v. 2.0)

The debate over whether Canadian-born Ted Cruz is eligible to be president is moving from the campaign trail to the courtroom.

Lawsuits challenging the Texas Republican's eligibility for the ballot have been filed in states including Illinois, New York and Alabama. Fellow GOP candidate Donald Trump also has threatened to sue over the issue.

Cruz and some legal experts say he's eligible because his mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born.

Illinois voters have until 11:59 pm tonight to register online for the 2016 general primary on March 15.

This is the first presidential election in which 17-year-olds in Illinois can register and vote in the primary if they will be 18 by the general election on Nov. 8.

The online voter application form is available on the State Board of Elections registration page.

A tight contest for the presidential nominations and competitive races for seats in the General Assembly could make for a gripping primary in Illinois next month. Deadlines loom if you plan to be a part of it.

Some voters already have mailed in their ballots; early voting in Illinois began Feb. 4 and runs right up until a day before the March 15 primary.

The three candidates for the Democratic nomination to oppose incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk had their first informal debate Monday. It grew contentious over the issue of Laquan McDonald’s death and prosecuting police officers.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board asked the  candidates if the federal government should investigate practices at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

Andrea Zopp and Napoleon Harris are both African-American, and Zopp accused Harris of not leading on the topic of criminal justice in the black community.

An Egyptian activist is touring the U.S., reminding people that the struggle in her country continues five years after the uprising.

Tuesday night, she spoke in Rockford. Salma Hussein is a human rights advocate and journalist from Cairo, Egypt. She says "it's hard to see people talking about it like it's history because the movement is still there. Even if it's not necessarily with the same momentum anymore, the movement is still alive and present."

scottforchairman.com

The chairman of the Winnebago County Board will not run for re-election. Republican Scott Christiansen is dropping out of the March 15 primary. 

In Winnebago County, the chairman of the county board is elected by voters, not chosen by the board itself.

Christiansen has held the position since 2004 and, up until Sunday, it appeared he would run again. That’s when he told Rockford Register Star political editor Chuck Sweeny he was ending his re-election bid for health and family reasons.

College of DuPage

College campuses (and the politics behind them) are taking center stage in Springfield's festering stalemate.

Budget gridlock has kept money from going to higher education since July. Then, in a matter of hours on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers approved a plan that would pump $720 million dollars into the system. 

Republicans are calling it a "cruel hoax" that's giving students false hope, even though they, too, say they want to help higher ed. It's a scenario that demonstrates the partisan tensions -- and politics -- at play.

Gov. Bruce Rauner Creates New IT Agency

Jan 25, 2016

Illinois has doesn't have a centralized information technology infrastructure. It's a patchwork of old systems.

The field has narrowed in two northern Illinois contests on the March 15th primary ballot.

Rockford business consultant Colin McGroarty’s challenge to incumbent Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger is over.

His nominating petitions were challenged by Suzy Brown and David Welter, both of Morris in Grundy County, and he has been removed from the March primary ballot.

In the 67th Illinois House District, both challengers to incumbent Democrat Litesa Wallace also have been removed.

http://rockfordcityil.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1212&Inline=True

A controversial housing proposal for Rockford’s east side has the go-ahead from a reluctant city council. Aldermen approved the site plans for the development on South New Towne Drive, on a 7 to 5 vote.

Pages