Illinois Election Summary

November 10, 2016

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Highlights from the 2016 Election

With approximately 5 million votes cast, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in Illinois, 55.4 percent to 39.41 percent, winning Illinois’ 20 electoral votes.

Democratic candidate Susana Mendoza wins the statewide comptroller seat in what was widely viewed as a proxy race between Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. Mendoza won, 49 percent to Munger’s 45 percent.

Despite a significant Clinton margin in the state and a Mendoza statewide victory, the Democrats lost seats in the state’s General Assembly. In the state House, Democrats lost four net seats, while losing only two net seats in the state Senate. In the House, Democrats lost their veto-proof majority. Despite these losses, they will retain their majorities in both the Senate (37-22) and House (67-51) in the 100th General Assembly beginning in 2017.

With possibly as much as $328 million spent in this cycle, this election was by far the most expensive in state history. Wealthy Gov. Rauner and his allies spent $70 million in legislative races, which appears to have moved the needle in the state House and gears up the state for a brutal — and expensive — gubernatorial re-election fight in 2018.  

The governor’s race will be a tough battle as Gov. Rauner may well spend upwards of $100 million to win re-election in a Democratic state during a Republican presidential midterm election in 2018.

Federal Results


With 97 percent of national precincts reporting

  • 20 electoral votes
  • National percentages:
    • Trump (R) – 47.5 percent
    • Clinton (D) – 47.66 percent
  • Illinois percentages:
    • Clinton (D) 55.4 percent
    • Trump (R) 39.41 percent

U.S. Senate

With 99 percent of precincts reporting

  • Duckworth (D) – 54 percent
  • Kirk (R) – 40.2 percent (incumbent)
  • Other – about 5 percent

In one of the most-watched Senate races of the 2016 cycle, incumbent Republican Senator Mark Kirk ran for re-election against Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Senator Kirk faced multiple headwinds, including presidential election year turnout, which typically favors Democrats and a historically unpopular Republican nominee. In the latest RealClearPolitics average, Duckworth led Kirk by 7 points. Duckworth won handily by a wide margin, garnering 54.4 percent of the vote compared to Kirk’s 40.2 percent. News rel=”noopener noreferrer” organizations started declaring the Duckworth victory soon after the polls closed. 

U.S. Congress

  • Net change in Illinois congressional delegation: D+1
    • IL-10 – Democratic former Congressman Brad Schneider defeats Republican Congressman Bob Dold to retake the seat the former lost in 2014. This was a top-tier race targeted by the national Democratic Party committees.
    • Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) won the open congressional seat (8th District) that was vacated by Rep. Tammy Duckworth to run for the U.S. Senate.
    • All other incumbents were re-elected in the other Illinois congressional races.

Statewide Results


Vote totals:

  • Susana Mendoza (D) – 49 percent
  • Leslie Munger (R) rel=”noopener noreferrer” – 45 percent

Susana Mendoza won the race for comptroller, beating incumbent Leslie Munger by 4 points. The race for comptroller, the office which determines the state’s spending priorities, saw incumbent Republican appointee Leslie Munger face off against Democratic Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza. Typically not a contentious race, it was given a higher profile this year in part because of the state’s uncertain budget situation. In addition, the race was widely viewed as another proxy battle between longtime Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, since Rauner appointed Munger to the position. The money rel=”noopener noreferrer” followed the wider import that this race was given. Because her husband lent over $250,000 to her campaign, under Illinois election law, all spending caps were lifted in the race, allowing unlimited contributions to either candidate. Munger took advantage of this, raising over $5 million from wealthy Republican financiers. Approximately $12 million was spent in the race overall.

Local Races

ILLINOIS SENATE (100th General Assembly — 37 Democrats and 22 Republicans — Net Loss of 2 Democratic Seats)

Currently, Democrats in the Illinois Senate enjoy a 39-20 veto-proof majority over the Republican Party. Forty of the 59 senators were on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot. Thirty-six Democratic senators constitute a veto-proof majority, and with 37 Democratic senators, the Democrats maintained control of the Senate and maintained their veto-proof majority for the 100th General Assembly.

The results of the targeted races are below.

Democratic Incumbents
Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-49) defeated Michelle Smith (R).
Sen. Melinda Bush (D-31) defeated Michael Amrozowicz (R).
Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-23) appears to have defeated Seth Lewis (R).
Sen. Gary Forby (D-59) was defeated by Dale Fowler (R).
Sen. Laura Murphy (D-28) defeated Mel Thillens (R).

Republican Incumbents
Sen. Dan McConchie (R-26) defeated Kelly Mazeski (D).
Sen. Sue Rezin (R-38) defeated Christine Benson (D).

Open Seats
Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-58): Paul Schrimpf (R) defeated Sheila Simon (D).
Sen. John Sullivan (D-47): Jil Tracy (R) ran unopposed. This is a Republican pickup.

New Republican Members

Dale Fowler (49th District)

New Democratic Members


ILLINOIS HOUSE (100th General Assembly — 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans — Net Loss of 4 Democratic Seats) 

Currently, Democrats in the Illinois House hold a 71-47 veto-proof majority. All 118 House seats appeared on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot. Many candidates were either unopposed or faced token opposition. Seventy-one Democratic members constitute a veto-proof majority. With 67 Democratic House members, the Democrats maintained control of the House but lost their veto-proof majority for the 100th General Assembly.

The results of the targeted races are below.

Democratic Incumbents
Rep. Deb Conroy (D-46) defeated Heidi Holan (R).
Rep. Marty Moylan (D-55) defeated Dan Gott (R).
Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-56) defeated Jillian Bernas (R).
Rep. Sam Yingling (D-62) defeated Rod Drobinski (R).
Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-71) lost to Tony McCombie (R).
It appears that Rep. Andy Skoog (D-76) lost to Jerry Long (R).
Rep. Kate Cloonen (D-79) lost to Lindsay Parkhurst (R).
Rep. Dan Beiser (D-111) defeated Mike Babcock (R).
Rep. John Bradley (D-117) lost to Dave Severin (R).
Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-118) defeated Jason Kasiar (R).

Republican Incumbents
Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-20) defeated Merry Marwig (D).
Rep. Christine Winger (R-45) defeated Cynthia Borbas (D).
Rep. Avery Bourne (R-95) defeated Mike Mathis (D).
Rep. Dwight Kay (R-112) lost to Katie Stuart (D).
Rep. Terri Bryant (R-115) defeated Marsha Griffin (D).

Open Seats
Rep. Jack Franks (D-63): Steven Reick (R) defeated John Bartman (D).
Rep. Pat Verschoore (D-71): Mike Halpin (D) defeated Brandi McGuire (R).

New Republican Members

Tony McCombie (71st District)

Jerry Long (76th District)

Lindsay Parkhurst (79th District)

Dave Severin (117th District)

Steven Reick (63rd District)

New Democratic Members

Katie Stuart (112th District)

Constitutional Amendment

Transportation Lockbox Amendment Ratified

A proposed constitutional amendment appeared on the ballot that would require all transportation-related taxes and fees, such as license plate registration fees and motor fuel taxes, to be used exclusively for transportation-related purposes by state and local governments. Under the amendment, these funds could not be diverted or used for other purposes. To be ratified, the proposed amendment needed the affirmative vote of at least 60 percent of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election. By either measure, the amendment was easily ratified.

Vote totals:

  • Yes – 78.9 percent
  • No – 21.1 percent

Looking Ahead: Future Implications

This was the most expensive election in state history, with as much as $328 million spent during this cycle. In the comptroller race, which was a proxy battle between Democratic Speaker Madigan and Gov. Rauner, at least $12 million was spent. At least 12 other legislative races spent over $2 million. The Marwig-McAuliffe race was the most expensive state legislative race in the nation, with more than $5 million spent on both sides. Generally, with the singular help of Gov. Rauner, Republicans were able to outraise Democrats.

In picking up four net seats in the House and two net seats in the Senate, Republicans benefitted from President-elect Trump’s coattails in heavily Republican districts as well as the significant amount of money Rauner was able to spend in these elections.

This fundraising deficit will only be exacerbated in the near future, as Rauner and his allies have large sums ($100 million plus) to spend in the upcoming 2018 election. Democrats, in contrast, will likely not be able to outraise — or even match — these high-dollar donors. Coupled with midterm turnout, which favors Republicans, retaking the governorship will be difficult for Democrats.

Illinois is now in its second year without a full budget, with the results of the election unlikely to break the gridlock. Significant legislative action in the state capitol, whether on the budget or other big-ticket items, will probably be at a standstill.