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Trump prevails against all odds

  • Written by Joe Boyle

In what could be considered the most stunning upset in American political history, real estate developer Donald Trump has defeated Hillary Clinton and will become the 45th president of the United States.

Trump's startling victory will return a Republican to the White House for the first time since George W. Bush, whose term ended in 2008. Clinton, the former secretary of state and first lady, called Trump to concede after 1 a.m. Wednesday.

At 1:40 a.m. Wednesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and his family walked to the Javits Center stage in New York City and was introduced as the vice president-elect.

“This is a historic night,” said Pence, as the crowd roared. “The American people have spoken and the American people have chosen their new champion.”

Pence then introduced Trump, who entered the stage with his family and aides.

“I just received a call from Secretary Clinton and she congratulated us on our victory,” said Trump. “We owe her a major debt of gratitude for her long years of service. It is time for us to come together as a nation. We are going to rebuild our inner cities and our infrastructure. And now, finally, we will take care of our veterans. We will get along with all nations who get along with us.”

Trump added that he is looking forward to becoming the new commander in chief.

“I look forward to being your president,” said Trump. “And I can say although the campaign is over, our work just begins.”

It appeared that nothing was going to happen until the next day. Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta came out at 1 a.m. to inform supporters that the race was too close to call and that everyone should go home and see what happens in the morning. But it was just a few minutes later that Clinton called Trump to concede. Clinton did not speak publically after conceding. She was scheduled to make a speech later Wednesday morning.

As of 2:40 a.m. Wednesday, Trump had 278 Electoral College votes to Clinton's 218. Trump had just over 48 percent of the vote to Clinton's 47 percent.

Even with Trump's victory, Illinois remains a state covered in blue. Cong. Tammy Duckworth (D-8th) defeated Republican incumbent Mark KIrk for the U.S. Senate. Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza defeated the Republican incumbent Leslie Munger for comptroller.

Kim Foxx becomes the first African-American woman to win the race for Cook County State's Attorney. She defeated incumbent Anita Alvarez and attorney Jacob Meister in the Democratic primary. Foxx toppled Republican Christopher Pfannkuche Tuesday night. Democrat Dorothy Brown returns as the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

While Trump defeated Clinton nationally, the former secretary of state was victorious in suburban Cook County. Clinton had 64.6 percent of the ballots cast with 658,744 votes as of Wednesday morning. Trump had 29.69 percent, or 302,821 votes. Libertarian Gary Johnson had 32,292 votes, or 3.17 percent. Green Party candidate Jill Stein had just 13,890 votes, or 1.36 percent.

In the U.S. Senate race, Duckworth had 61.33 percent, or 613,079 votes, as of Wednesday morning. Kirk had 33.74 percent, or 337,308 votes. Libertarian Kenton McMillen (2.79 percent) and Scott Summers (2.05 percent) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Mendoza had 537,147 votes in suburban Cook County, or 54.64 percent. Munger, who was appointed comptroller by Gov. Bruce Rauner after the death of Judy Baar Topinka, had 39.5 percent, or 386, 815 votes as of Wednesday morning. Libertarian Claire Ball (3.23 percent) and Green Party candidate Tim Curtin (2.79 percent) finished third and fourth, respectively.

The large voter turnout was evident early Tuesday morning as people were turning out in large numbers as early as 6:30 a.m. Election judges at Harnew Elementary School, 9101 S. Meade Ave., Oak Lawn, noticed that more voters cast ballots than in the past on Tuesday morning. Many residents asked for written ballots because the line to vote electronically was too long.

Voters were casting ballots at a steady pace at St. Patricia School, 9000 S. 86th Ave., Hickory Hills, in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Hickory Hills Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rdWard) greeted residents who just voted with an unusual gift -- “nausea bags.”

“I got the idea from someone who said that he was going to be sick to his stomach when it comes to voting for president,” said McAvoy. “I said to him what do you think I should do, put barf bags in every voting booth?” But then I started to think about it and I thought, why not? With the way this campaign has gone on, maybe it’s good to get people to laugh.”

Many voters did just that when receiving the bags that contained written material put together by McAvoy and some candy. The sheets included humorous quips about the volatile campaign. But McAvoy points in the information he provides that he takes elections seriously and posts a picture of the first time he voted, which was an absentee ballot 44 years ago when he was stationed in Saigon, Vietnam while in the U.S. Army.

McAvoy said there were a lot of residents from his ward who took part in Early Voting. He said that 453 out of 2,340 had voted as of Sunday night. That’s a 20 percent hike from the presidential election in 2012 when 175 voted early.

“I don’t know what to make of it,” said McAvoy. “But that is a lot of early voters.”

Election judges at Salem United Church of Christ, 9717 S. Kostner Ave., Oak Lawn, also said that they had a heavy turnout of voters on Tuesday morning.