Election 2010: Predictions for Illinois

Illinois' US Senate Race expected to be one of the tightest in the nation.

Illinois always seems to be an interesting state to watch. Rarely do they have the “best” candidates. Usually, candidates are either shady, have a questionable past or just out in left, or right, field. And 2010 isn’t any different from any other past election.

First, lets look at the governor’s race, where incumbent Pat Quinn looks to hold off a strong challenge from State Senator Bill Brady. Still, in recent polls, the Bloomington State Senator has been outperforming Quinn just slightly outside the margin of error.

While Quinn still has an outside chance at winning this race, he will have to do it with the support of moderate Republicans. One thing that Brady has going against him is that he is a staunch conservative. Some of the Republicans in DuPage, McHenry and Lake Counties might have issues with that. And while these Republicans do have conservative values, they still found themselves able to vote for Obama in 2008.

Therefore, the biggest battle in this race, and the Senate race as well, will be in the Chicago suburbs. And, as of right now, expect Brady to be victorious in these areas. While some Republicans might have a problem with Brady’s ultra-conservative views, Quinn’s promise to raise taxes seems to be more of a threat to these voters.

The biggest problem that Quinn is facing is independent challenges from former Lt. Governor candidate Scott Lee Cohen and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney. If both of these candidates poll high numbers, this will hurt Quinn. But if these candidates are held to a minimum, then Quinn has a fighting chance.

For now, we project Brady winning this race with 48.45% of the vote. We expect Quinn with 45.55%, Cohen with at 4.0% and Whitney with at 2.0%.

In the Senate race, we see nearly the same scenario as we see in the Governor’s race. Mark Kirk, a Republican Congressman who has lied about his military service record runs against Alexi Giannoulias, whose family ran Broadway Bank into the ground. Honestly. Both parties couldn’t do a worse job at picking candidates.

Anyway, to the race. Unlike Brady in the governor’s race, Kirk is a moderate Republican that can appeal to the suburban Republicans in DuPage, Lake and McHenry. Therefore, Kirk looks to be in solid position to take this Senate seat. Still, the polls have this race as extremely tight.

While Kirk does have some good news, so does Giannoulias. Unlike Quinn, who has strong 3rd party opposition, Giannoulias’ 3rd party opposition is considerably less. This will help him get those extra few votes that will be hard for Quinn to get in his battle for the governorship.

Our projection is that this will be the closest race on November 2nd. As of right now (and more than likely until Election Day), we have Giannoulias winning the race with 48.6% of the vote. We expect Kirt to get 48.4% of the vote with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones netting 3%. If Jones gets less of the vote, this will further help Gainnoulias. Still, we predict a Democratic hold here.

Even with the hotly contested statewide races, there are a number of Congressional races to keep your eyes on as well. And as with many other states throughout the country, Democrats might have a depressing night in Illinois.

First lets look at the 10th Congressional District, which is currently held by U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk. Dan Seals, who has run for this seat twice and has lost, is tying to make the third time a charm against Republican Bob Dold. Throughout the last six years, Seals has been able to build up support throughout the district, especially in heavily Republican areas. Many million-dollar homes along Sheridan Road are sporting Dan Seals for Congress signs. And, in addition, the polls have worked to his favor.

We expect Seals, who was dubbed at “Obama Junior” two years ago, to take this seat, thus being a pick up for the Democrats. We expect Seals to win 51.9% of the vote to Dold’s 48.1%.

In the 11th Congressional District, which spans from Will County to the east, all the way to Peoria to the west, is held by Democrat Debbie Halvorson. In 2008, Democrats picked up seats that they have no business winning. This was one of those seats. Therefore, even with a strong ad campaign, Halvorson is expected to lose against Republican young gun Adam Kinzinger. Our prediction is Kinzinger winning 54.25% of the vote to Halvorson’s 45.75%.

Another race that Democrats were shocked to win two years ago was the 14th Congressional District. This district used to be held by former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Bill Foster won the seat in a special election in early 2008, and was able to retain it for a full term in November of 2008.  What is more of a surprise is that Foster beat ice cream junkie Jim Oberweis by more than 15 points in the special election. Can Foster do it again?

Like with the Senate race, we expect this to be one of the closest races in the nation. We expect Republican State Senator Randy Hultgren to defeat Bill Foster by a very small margin of 50.1% to 49.9%. It should be a long night for these two campaigns on the 2nd.

The final race that has to be worrying to Democrats is the 17th Congressional District, which covers most of the west part of the state along this Mississippi River. Democrat Phil Hare is the incumbent. He is facing a very strong challenge from Republican Bobby Schilling. I drove through the district a few weeks ago, and in most of the rural areas people are just pounding Hare. He will easily lose the rural vote.

Like most of the other Congressional districts in Illinois, we expect the Democrats to lose this one as well. We have Schilling winning this race with 51.25% of the vote over Hare with 48.75% of the vote.

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