Now that the holiday season is nearly wrapped up, the election season is about to kick into high gear, with the March 15 primary election approaching fast.
Early voting begins Feb. 4 and will continue through March 14.
Of course, the presidential election is garnering the most attention now. But by the time Illinoisans go to the polls, the large field of candidates, especially on the Republican side, will likely be winnowed down following the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1, the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9, and Super Tuesday on March 1, when 12 states go to the polls.
But many voters are inclined to forget that other races will also be decided on March 15. Dec. 21 was the deadline for candidates to submit their election petitions to be placed on ballots, and while some are being challenged and may be removed, we at least have a tentative list of who is running for the various offices
The only statewide Illinois race this year is for state comptroller, to complete the term of Judy Baar Topinka. After she died of a stroke last December, one month after being elected to her second term in office, Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed Leslie Geissler Munger to fill the position until the election.
Munger, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary to retain the seat, will likely face off in the Nov. 8 general election against Susana Mendoza, currently the Chicago city clerk, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
The two local congressional races might be interesting.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), who was first elected in 1993, is running for his 12th term in Congress. He will have three challengers in the primary, if they all survive the objections filed against their candidacy. They include O. Patrick Brutus, Howard Brookins Jr. and Harold Bailey. Brookins is the current 21st Ward alderman in Chicago.
Two objections are pending against Rush and one against Bailey. Hearings on them will be scheduled in January.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face either August (O’Neill) Deuser or Jimmy Lee Tillman II, who are running against each other in the Republican primary.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Dan Lipinski is seeking his sixth term in office. He is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
The only candidate running in the Republican primary is Arthur J. Jones, a Lyons resident with a history of involvement in white supremacy organizations. He has run for the 3rd District seat before, including against Lipinski in 2012, as well as several other offices.
Some of the local Democratic state senators and representatives are running unopposed in the primary, and will be unopposed again in November because no Republicans have thrown their hats in the ring.
These include incumbent state Sen. Jacqueline “Jacqui” Collins (D-16th), whose Chicago-based district extends into Oak Lawn. Also, incumbent state Rep. Kelly Burke (D-36th) of Evergreen Park is running unopposed in the primary, and no Republicans have entered the race. The same can be said for state Reps. Robert “Bob” Rita (D-28th) and Andre Thapedi (D-32nd), whose district includes Hickory Hills.
In the 19th Senate District, which includes part of Orland Park and numerous other southwestern suburbs, incumbent Democrat Michael E. Hastings is seeking a second term. He is being challenged in the primary by McStephen “Max” Solomon, an attorney from Hazel Crest. Objections have been filed against both of them, but as of now, the winner will have no Republican opposition.
Prior to his election, Hastings, an Army veteran, served as vice president of High School District 230.
State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st), whose district includes Oak Lawn, is being challenged in the primary by Michael Crawford, of Chicago’s Wrightwood neighborhood.
Likewise, state Rep. Monique Davis (D-27th) is being challenged in the primary by Justin Q. Slaughter. But no Republican candidates have filed for either race.
On the other hand, state Rep. Frances Hurley (D-35th), faces no opposition in the primary, but in November, she will go up against Victor Horne, who is the only candidate running in the Republican primary.