The Election Results are in, and I know many of you are disappointed – even depressed. It wasn’t just a bad night for our statewide candidates – it was a bad night for all Republicans in Illinois – up and down the ballot. From the governor’s race down to state House and state Senate races – we lost big.
Not only do Democrats maintain control of every statewide office, but they also maintained their supermajorities in the state House and Senate. House Republicans lost 4 seats and possibly 5 – prompting House Minority Leader Jim Durkin to step down from his GOP leadership position.
On the Senate side, Illinois Democrats had 41 seats to 18 Republicans. Republicans needed to pick up 6 seats to break the supermajority in the State Senate – and that did not happen. Even more surprising, 34 Democrats went uncontested in their Senate races – meaning no Republican opponent was even on the ballot this November.
So, what happened? In my humble opinion, several things.
Number 1 – Redistricting. Since Democrats control the legislature, they drew a map that favored Democrats – making it very difficult for any Republican running for state House or Senate to win this election. And don’t forget, Gov. Pritzker campaigned in 2018 that he would not sign a gerrymandered legislative map – but as Governor, that’s exactly what he did. Breaking his promise to the people of Illinois.
Secondly – Mail-in Ballots. The Democrats have perfected the mail-in ballot program. They executed it flawlessly and by the time Election
Day rolled in, they knew they had a tremendous head start in terms of votes. And there would be no way for Republicans to catch up in such a
short amount of time.
Third – Voter Integrity. Very little money, if any, was spent by Republicans on Voter Integrity. We didn’t have teams of lawyers ready to be deployed to hot spots throughout Cook County, we didn’t plan or execute a robust voter integrity plan – we did very little to put Democrats on notice that we were watching them.
And Fourth – Money. During the Primary, billionaire Ken Griffin – the richest man in Illinois with a net worth of $28B, donated $50M to the Richard Irvin Governor campaign. Records show 95% of that funding went to Irvin. The other 5% went to the other statewide candidates on the “Griffin – Irvin” slate. Leaving no money for anyone else running in the Primary.
In the last 10 years, Griffin has given a total of $179M. $53M to defeat the graduated income tax amendment in 2020; $36M to Bruce Rauner in 2014 and 2018; and $10M to help turn the IL Supreme Court more conservative.
$179M later and Democrats control every statewide office and a supermajority in the Illinois House and Senate and the Illinois Supreme Court is not conservative. $50M to Irvin to come in 3rd place in the Primary – who didn’t just lose – he lost badly. It was a total embarrassment.
Now let’s talk about the Bailey Campaign. $42M in total to a Pro Bailey PAC and $10M directly to Bailey.
$100M this Election Cycle to support 2 men – Irvin and Bailey. While the rest of the Republican field struggled to raise any money at all.
Talk to any Republican who ran for office this General Election and they’ll tell you the same thing: we had no money to get our messages out or to defend ourselves from vicious lies and smears by the Democrats.
$50M for the governor’s race to be called at 7:06 pm – one of the fastest races to be called in modern Illinois election history.
The Alan Keyes – Barack Obama US Senate race may have been called at 7:05 pm and the Blagojevich-Topinka race in 2006 may have been called
around 7:03 pm. But it was quick. And right now, Bailey trails Pritzker by 11 points with 98% of the vote counted.
So now, what?
It’s time for the Illinois Political Consulting Class to go. Just like a controlled burn removes old vegetation and makes room for new growth – we need this in Illinois if we are ever to be in a position to win again.
It’s time to hold these so-called “political experts” accountable.
They are not experts at winning races – they are experts at losing races. The records speak for themselves. And we are in the super minority because of it.
Think about this in terms of your doctor or a surgeon. If you or a loved one needed surgery, would you call a doctor whose patients all died? No! Of course not!
To be out there promoting a single poll that said Bailey was within “striking” distance and only 2 points behind – is Political Malpractice.
To spend $100M on two candidates who lost very badly is Political Malpractice.
To fool people into thinking that we could win the Governor’s race – only to lose by 11 points and for the race to be called within minutes of the polls closing is Political Malpractice.
To spend $100M and ignore Republican candidates up and down the ballot who needed the funding to survive is Political Malpractice.
To spend $100M and not put a Voter Integrity Program in place is Political Malpractice.
To spend $100M only to hand Democrats the SuperMajority in Springfield is Political Malpractice.
If this were Corporate America or the Real World – where you are judged by your results, the entire IL GOP Leadership would have been
fired on Tuesday Night. Security Guards would have escorted them out of the building as they carried a box full of their personal belongings.
But not in Illinois Politics. You are rewarded for a historically bad night by keeping your jobs and fancy titles. Think about that.
No one is held accountable – and instead, they blame Donald Trump. Do what the Democrats do and blame Donald Trump.
It’s time for an entirely new IL GOP – from top to bottom. Will you join me?
Mark Vargas is a talk show host on WIND 560 AM.