Illinois voters went to the polls Tuesday for the state’s primary contests, picking, respectively, a billionaire Democrat, a former mayoral candidate and, quite possibly, a conservative Democratic incumbent.
The first race of the night to be called was the gubernatorial Democratic primary. Billionaire J.B. Pritzker won his primary contest with over 45 percent of the vote after spending close to $70 million on the unbelievably expensive contest. Pritzker beat out Daniel Biss, a progressive state senator endorsed by the political organization Our Revolution, and Chris Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy. According to an investigation from the Chicago Tribune, Pritzker—who’s released just two pages of his personal income-tax returns—set up a host of offshore shell companies between 2008 and 2011 along with his brother Anthony.
On the Republican side, Gov. Bruce Rauner narrowly avoided an upset against his opponent State Representative Jeanne Ives.
The night’s marquee race in Illinois’ Third Congressional District had incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, an abortion opponent who voted against the Affordable Care Act and the DREAM Act, held on to narrowly defeat progressive challenger Marie Newman, 51 percent to 49 percent.
A member of the Lipinski family has represented the district for 35 years, and Dan Lipinski was first elected in 2004 after his father dropped out of that year’s contest. Newman, his first serious challenger, was endorsemed by EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Illinois Democrats Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List recently made a big final push for Lipinski, with a reported 70 canvassers and a significant ad and mail campaign on his behalf.
Lipinski will face off in the deeply blue district against Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier who ran unopposed and was disavowed by the Illinois Republican Party.
In Illinois’ Fourth Congressional District, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia won his Democratic primary for a safe seat represented by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill), who is retiring after this term in Congress. Sen. Sanders recently campaigned on behalf of Garcia, a former mayoral candidate in Chicago who serves on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.