Winners, losers and local Republican pyrrhic victories
By Ray Hanania
An overview of some of the key races in the Chicagoland suburban areas:
Patlak versus Sean Morrison
The right wing extremists celebrated a pyrrhic victory Tuesday night with the narrow victory of Dan Patlak over better qualified Sean Morrison. Patlak will face a stiff challenge from Democrat Casey Thomas Griffin who received an enormous vote of more than 65,000 in the Democratic primary which had no real draw.
In fact, the low voter turnout in the countywide and Chicago elections reflected the fact that many Democrats did not vote because there were few district wide races and President Barack Obama was unchallenged. In November, that voter turnout will increase dramatically and Patak’s chances of holding on the seat will drop.
The bottom line is that Patlak has surrounded himself with rightwing extremists like Tea Party literary terrorists at the Illinois Review and chief hack Fran Eaton. And unless he distances himself from that inflammatory branch of the party, mainstream Republicans who did their best to give the GOP a real choice in the November election will either sit on their hands or cross over and support Griffin.
The Patlak-Morrison race was defined by the fanatics versus the moderates. And Patlak, though a decent person himself, is smothered by many extremists who don’t represent the Republican Party.
Mitt Romney will probably be the Republican Party nominee for President, and that will further weaken the Republican Party, though he is the better candidate than challenger Rick Santorum. The Tea Party activists will remain a threat to Republican party revival.
All that spells bad news for the besieged Patlak who comes out of this election wounded by divisions, poor guidance, and a strong challenger in November.
Luis Gutierrez and his failed power grab
There is no doubt that Congressman Luis Gutierrez ran a slate of candidates he hoped would help takeover areas of the Mexican American community on the South Side. Gutierrez is Puerto Rican and he has held office by dividing Mexican voters whoa re the majority in his strangely drawn district — it’s like two balloons tied together with Puerto Rican voters dominating the north side and Mexican Americans dominating the south side.
Gutierrez was behind several power grab races including:
– The challenge by Ricardo Munoz against Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. Brown easily slam-dunked Munoz.
– The challenge by Raul Montes against Senator Steve Landek. Landek (who I work for) defeated Montes in a huge landslide.
– The challenge by Rudy Lozano, the son of the murdered former community activist, against Silvana Tabares, the talented former editor and journalist at the Extra Newspaper. Tabares defeated Lozano with a sizable margin.
– The challenge by Robert Reyes against State Rep. Lisa Hernandez. Reyes lost big time, too, to Hernandez.
All four of the Gutierrez slate of candidates Munoz, Montes, Lozano and Reyes were dramatically defeated.
Maybe someone should challenge Gutierrez in the November election instead of allowing him to raise his money from his cronies and buddies that he directs into other campaigns.
Bill Foster buys a second chance
Bill Foster easily outpaced two challengers, Jim Hickey, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District — the OFPD is one of my clients — and Juan Thomas, a local attorney. Foster had millions at his disposal while his challengers lacked funds. But the race shows that Foster can’t win against Republican incumbent Judy Biggert in November. Biggert can easily count on a solid coalition of Republicans including support from Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman whose successful anti-sales tax hike battles has redefined voter priorities in Cook County’s suburbs.
My money is on Biggert if she can reach out and build a coalition of moderates, and tap the still strong “Reagan Democrats” who populate the Southwest suburbs.
Metropolitan Do-Nothing Water Reclamation District
The worst government agency in northern Illinois is the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which spends billions doing little to live up to its important mission. The agency has been a failure when it comes to fighting flood waters. But it has spent lavishly on its board members
Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew Patrick Daley Thompson and his two running mates, Kari Steele and Deborah Shore, an incumbent. easily won the seats.
Patricia Young, a former MWRD commissioner, and incumbent Patricia Horton, lost, along with Stella Black.
Thompson will undoubtedly become the district’s new president.
Click to read a review of that race.
Congressman Dan Lipinski easily won renomination defeating an unknown challenger, Farah Baqi. Baqi is Arab and Muslim and got about 6,000 votes, which reflects the strength of that community in the 3rd District. They constantly focus on races they can’t win, of course. Poor leadership.
Congressman Jesse Jackson defeated Debbie Halvorson, despite the controversy stain from the scandal surrounding the conviction of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. No real surprise there at all.
Tammy Duckworth defeated Raja Krisnamorthi. This was a tough race for Krisnamorthi, a qualified candidate, running against an Iraqi war hero who lost her legs in defending this country. Krisnamorthi still has a great future.
Michael Hastings, the son of Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings, won the contested nomination in the new 19th Senate District representing the Southwest suburbs, defeating Greg Hannon.
MOST IMPORTANT FACT
Democrats didn’t vote statewide with the exception of pockets where there were heated races. That fact accounted for this record low voter turnout.
— Ray Hanania