Illinois Primary Wrap-Up

Tuesday was the Illinois primary election and the results were as follows:

Governor: The Illinois GOP selected businessman Bruce Rauner to be their nominee in this year’s governor’s race. Polls had him with a lead in the double digits going into the primary, but he was only able to narrowly avoid an upset by winning 40% of the vote compared to 37% for his nearest rival, Kirk Dillard. This may partly be due to heavy spending against Rauner,to the tune of $3 million, by unions who fear that he might become the next Scott Walker. This race currently Leans Republican, but we’ll have to wait and see what damage the unions can do to Rauner between now and election day.

Senate: Republican State Sen. Jim Oberweis defeated businessman Doug Truax to win the right to challenge Sen. Dick Durbin for his seat in the US Senate. Oberweis has globs of money to spend and while he remains the big underdog, I wouldn’t underestimate his ability to get under Durbin’s skin and put a scare into the Democrats. With the Senate picture as bleak as it is, the last thing the Democrats want is to have to spend money for what is supposed to be a safe seat. That being said, it is hard to see how Durbin actually loses reelection and this race is currently Safe Democrat.

House:

IL-08: Veteran Larry Kaifesh easily won the March 18th primary fight against and will face freshman Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D), a fellow veteran. The race was previously rated Likely Democrat, but with with a GOP nominee selected, we can make a better guess as to the outcome of this race. Kaifesh had cash trouble during the primary, with his opponent raising almost twice as he did. In addition, his website looks like something out the 1990s and uses phrases like “conservative values” in a D+8 district. Thus, we change this race to Safe Democrat

IL-10: There was no competitive primary in this district, leaving former Rep. Bob Dold (R) as the challenger against current Rep. Brad Schneider (D). Nothing has changed since our last analysis and this race remains a Toss-Up.

IL-11: State Rep. Darlene Senger is the Republican nominee against Rep. Bill Foster (D) in this D+8 district. It is a long shot by any means and Senger will have to step up her game if she wants to be competitive, particularly when it comes to fundraising. Until that happens, this race is Likely Democrat.

IL-12: Illinois’s 12th District, which split its vote in the 2012 presidential election, is one of the most competitive in the nation and it is currently represented by Democrat Bill Enyart. The question is whether the Republicans have a candidate that can win it. The candidate they do have, State Rep. Mike Bost (R), has electoral experience and has proven to be an adequate cash collector. Meanwhile, Enyart has shown some really weak fundraising numbers this election cycle and if Bost runs a well-organized campaign, he will be in pretty good shape by November. We’re moving this race from Likely Democrat to Leans Democrat.

IL-13: To the dismay of Democrats, Rep. Rodney Davis (R) beat a primary challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold to win renomination for his seat. However, they also got some good news in that their  preferred candidate, former Madison County Judge Anne Callis, emerged from the Democratic primary. We originally rated this race as Leans Republican in light of the possibility of Davis losing the primary, but now that he has emerged victorious his hold on the seat looks a bit sturdier. That being said, we’re going to give this race a bit more time before officially moving it to safer ground and so it remains Leans Republican.

IL-17: Another non-competitive primary and another Republican former congressman trying to regain his seat. Former Rep. Bob Shilling (R) is looking to avenge his 2012 loss to Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) and he couldn’t have picked a better year to do it. That being said, this is a D+7 district and Bustos is out-fundraising more than 4 to 1. This race may get closer as we approach November, but we’re moving this race to Likely Democrat until Shilling shows that he can bring in the money he will need in order to win.

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Final NYC Mayoral Polls: Can De Blasio Seal the Deal?

Election night is almost here! It’s been quite a race over the past year and there have been many twist and turns along the way. The conventional wisdom is that it’s de Blasio’s race to lose and that we may not even need a runoff. We can we expect come tomorrow night?

The two polls that have come out over the past 24 hours, from Quinnipiac and PPP, show de Blasio just under the 40% he needs to avoid the runoff. Compare these results to the 43% he got in last week’s Quinnipiac poll and we may have evidence that de Blasio’s support has peaked, or at least plateaued.  Now that doesn’t mean he’s in any danger for tomorrow, but it does indicate that this race isn’t over just yet.

The other important thing to watch tomorrow is the race between Quinn and Thompson for the number two spot, which is a ticket into the runoff as long as de Blasio doesn’t reach 40%. Polls have consistently shown Thompson steadily building up a lead over the past few weeks and Quinn has struggled to thrive during this entire election.

So with the campaign essentially over and the polling completed, here are my final predictions:

de Blasio 37%

Thompson 23%

Quinn   17%

Liu 6%

Weiner  5%

It’s obvious that de Blasio peaked a week ago and I don’t see him regaining much momentum in the next 24 hours. Still, there is no doubt that he’s going to get the most votes tomorrow. And while I would normally have Thompson doing better then expected, like his surprise performance in 2009, this time around there are a lot of choices for Democrats dissatisfied with Bloomberg. Quinn has had the wind knocked out of her sails (if she had any wind to begin with) by the rise of de Blasio and I would be shocked to see her reach 20%. Finally, I predict Weiner will under perform even the lowest of expectations and will get beaten by Chris Liu for the number 4 spot.

Tomorrow I will (hopefully) be covering the election from Bill de Blasio’s headquarters as the results come and the winners (and losers) are declared. It’s going to be an exciting night.

Bill DeBlasio Surges in NYC Mayoral Poll, May Avoid Runoff

From Quinnipiac:

“With 47 percent of black voters and 44 percent of women voters, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surges to 43 percent of likely voters in the Democratic primary for mayor, passing the 40 percent cutoff and possibly avoiding a runoff, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Former City Comptroller and 2009 Democratic nominee William Thompson is at 20 percent, with 18 percent for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 7 percent for former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, 4 percent for Comptroller John Liu, 1 percent for former Council member Sal Albanese and 8 percent undecided.”

Back in July, I predicted that de Blasio could “rise into the top tier by the middle of August,” and it looks like I was right. Now that we’re in September, de Blasio is starting to pull away from the rest of the field like a doped-up race horse at the Kentucky Derby.

Before the de Blasio folks start popping the champagne, it’s important to point out that this is only the first poll to show him avoiding a runoff. It could be true that later polls will show the same thing, but there is chance this is simply an outlier.

Regardless of whether de Blasio gets to 40% or not, he is the favorite to come out on top a week from today. And all polls show him easily beating every other candidate who could be paired with him the runoff.

It’s not set in stone yet, but right now it’s hard to imagine anyone else but de Blasio winning the Democratic nomination for mayor. The fat lady ain’t singing yet, but she’s warming up backstage.

New Poll: Weiner Goes Limp, Falls into Third Place

From NBC/Marist:

“The new NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll released Thursday found Weiner’s favorability rating among registered Democrats has tanked since June, from 52 percent to 30 percent, according to the poll conducted Wednesday. Over that same period, the percentage of Democrats who said they had an unfavorable impression of Weiner spiked from 36 to 55.

His lead over City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has also evaporated; 25 percent of Democrats said they’d now vote for her in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, and 16 percent said they’d back Weiner. A poll conducted last month had Weiner leading Quinn 25 percent to 20 percent.”

I called it yesterday.

Wiener’s polling has shown significant shrinkage since news broke that he had continued sexting even after he resigned from Congress. He went all the way from being comfortably in first place to statistically tied for second with Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio. As a result this race has just become a free-for-all, and it’s conceivable that any of the top four challengers could end up with a win on election day.

Quinn has picked up a good chunk of support as a result of Weiner’s troubles, netting about half of his defectors. The big question now is whether she can hold on to them all the way to the primary, or whether they will disperse to the other candidates. Considering the weakness she has shown over the past few months, it’s hard to see how should could do better than she is doing right now.

With de Blasio and Thompson now in contention to make it to the runoff, expect to see them get more media exposure over the next few weeks. Thompson could benefit from increased visibility in locking up the African American vote, of which he has only 23% support now. Bill de Blasio is showing strength across most demographics, and it will be interesting to see how he does as he gets more attention.

The New York City mayor’s race has just gotten a whole lot more interesting.

Quinn Show Of Force At Pride

On Sunday I went to the New York City LGBTQ Pride Parade, and it was quite the experience. Never having been to a pride parade before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I arrived about an hour early and the sidewalks were already filling with onlookers. There was a giant rainbow-colored balloon structure at the parade start, and on every corner were venders hawking rainbow flags. The attendees were a diverse mix of gays and straights, drag queens and bears (heavy and hairy gay men), families and scantily clad boy toys.

The overall atmosphere was extremely festive, and it was perhaps the most festive parade that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. With the recent Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8, participants told me it would be biggest pride parade ever. While I cannot verify that claim, I can say that the LGBT community certainly knows how to throw a party.

Before the official start of the parade I went (unsuccessfully) looking for the mayoral candidates. But I had to settle for some Quinn campaign material, though I did end up chatting with a Weiner supporter. He said that even though he’s gay, he could not support Christine Quinn for mayor. When I asked him why, he said that he thought that she was just plain corrupt. He then said that Weiner couldn’t be corrupt since “they don’t let guys whose dick is on the internet in on the corruption.” So I guess Weiner’s got that going for him.

Despite being nowhere in sight herself, you couldn’t walk five feet on 5th without running into a Christine Quinn sign, and scattered on the ground were dozens of campaign flyers and pamphlets. And on almost every corner there were Quinn volunteers asking if you were a registered Democratic, and whom you supported in the primary. As I was making my across 37th st, I saw the Quinn even had a large float devoted to the campaign.

In contrast, the Weiner effort was limited to the candidate marching in the parade with a bullhorn. He did receive a raucous reception, with the crowd cheering “Weiner! Weiner! Weiner!” Whether they were supporters of his campaign, referring to his sexting scandal, or simply amused by his funny sounding name,  the exposure worked out in his favor.

At a little past noon, the parade opened with the national anthem and the great spectacle began. The grand marshal was Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the DOMA case. She sat in a car wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat and a wide grin on her face. Throughout the rest of the parade there were people holding signs emblazoned with an image of her face, thanking her for helping take down DOMA. The feeling I got was that when the annals of history are written about the gay rights movement, Edith Windsor will be featured quite prominently.

The rest of the parade was exactly what you would expect. A lot of drag queens, a lot of dancing, a lot of rainbows, and a lot of politicians. In addition to the mayoral candidates, big time political players including Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, and US Senator Chuck Schumer were all marching alongside gays and lesbians. They say that the most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and a microphone, but instead of that particular audio device it was a bullhorn that the senator grasped in his hand. Simultaneously showing solidarity with the LGBT community and tooting his own (bull)horn, exclaimed “I was the first senator to march in this parade, but I won’t be the last.” Gee, thanks Chuck.