Early voting starts today, Thursday, for the Illinois primary election on March 15, but there are a few less candidates to choose from due to successful ballot challenges.
Aside from the presidential election, which understandably generates the most interest, one of the most-watched local races might be for the seat in the 1st Congressional District, which incumbent Cong. Bobby Rush (D-1st) has held since in 1993. Three opponents registered to run against him in his bid for a 12th term in Congress, but Harold Bailey did not survive a challenge to his nominating petitions so he was removed.
Rush, who survived two objections himself, will face O. Patrick Brutus and Howard Brookins Jr., the current 21st Ward alderman in Chicago.
In November, the winning Democrat 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, incumbent Cong. Dan Lipinski is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. And Lyons resident Arthur Jones, the only candidate to register for the Republican primary, was knocked off the ballot following a challenge. So it will be smooth sailing for Lipinski, who is seeking his seventh term in Congress unless someone is appointed to run against him.
According to the state Board of Elections, Jones, an insurance agent with past ties to white supremacist groups, was removed because the signatures on nominating petitions he submitted were ruled invalid.
This year, the Cook County races may provide some excitement, especially because of the opposition to incumbent State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez stemming from the controversy involving police shootings in Chicago.
She is being challenged by Kim Fox and Donna More in the Democratic primary, while Christopher EK Pfannkuche is running unopposed as a Republican.
Dorothy Brown, the incumbent Cook County Clerk, is running without the Democratic Party’s endorsement in the primary. She is opposed by Jacob Meister, Shirley T. Coleman, Tio Hardiman and Michelle Harris, who was endorsed.
Diane S. Shapiro is running unopposed in the Republican primary.
In the recorder of deeds race, incumbent Karen Yarbrough is running against Jan Kowalski in the Democratic primary. No one is running in the Republican primary for that office.
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.
Most of the local Democratic state senators and representatives are running unopposed in the primary, and many 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. They both survived challenges and remain on the ballot, without any Republican opposition.
Hastings, an Army veteran, is the former vice president of High School District 230.
State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st), whose district includes Oak Lawn, is also unopposed, as she often is, following the recent withdrawal of her Democratic opponent, Michael Crawford, of Chicago’s Wrightwood neighborhood.
Likewise, Justin Q. Slaughter withdrew from the 27th District race, so incumbent state Rep. Monique Davis (D-27th) is unopposed. But no Republican candidates have filed for either race.
State Rep. Frances Hurley (D-35th), faces no opposition in the primary, but in November, she will go up against Victor Horne, the only candidate running in the Republican primary.