Tuesday’s midterm elections reflected a major shift in American political attitudes. Only two years after giving the Democrats control over the presidency and both houses of Congress, voters replaced 60 Democrats with Republicans in the House of Representatives. While the Democrats retained a thin majority in the Senate, public discontent with the current state of political affairs is widely apparent. Illinois was no exception.
The race for governor remains neck-and-neck. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Bill Brady trails Democrat Pat Quinn by 8,300 votes. Votes in sixty-seven precincts, along with over 20,000 absentee ballots, still need to be counted. Brady has said he will not concede until the counting is finished, which could take a month.
In a hotly contested race for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat, Republican Mark Kirk narrowly beat Democrat Alexi Giannoulias wth 48 percent of the vote. Both candidates faced accusations of trustworthiness during their campaigns; Kirk was forced to apologize after lying about his military record, and Giannoulias faced accusations about ties to organized crime through a failed bank owned by his family.
House of Representatives ‑ 17th Congressional district
Despite a comfortable win in Galesburg, incumbent Democrat Phil Hare lost overall to Republican Bobby Schilling, who won 53 percent of the vote. This is the first time since 1983 that a Republican has been elected to the House in the 17th district. Schilling, who is new to politics, was backed by the Tea Party and hopes to simultaneously reduce both taxes and the federal deficit.