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Incumbents Win State Races, Democrats Lead Several Champaign County Races

Clockwise from top left: Mike Marron, Cassandra "C.J." Johnson, Darren Bailey, Brad Balbrook, Carol Ammons, Mike Ingram, Chris Miller, Scott Bennett

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post will be updated as new results are available. Last updated at 4:30 a.m. Thursday 11/5.

CHAMPAIGN – East-central Illinois incumbents for several state House and Senate seats have defeated their challengers. 

In Champaign County, Democrats lead races for Recorder of Deeds, Auditor, Circuit Clerk and Treasurer, and voters chose to pass referenda to support area forest preserves and support anti-poverty initiatives.


Incumbents Lead in State Races

In east-central Illinois, several state House and Senate incumbents have won reelection.

Below is a summary of where several races stand according to the Associated Press and the Champaign County Clerk’s office.

Illinois State House 103rd District

    • Democratic incumbent Carol Ammons has defeated Libertarian challenger Brad Bielert.
    • By early Thursday, Ammons had won 29,761 votes — or 78% of votes counted thus far in the district. The Associated Press called the race for Ammons at 1:02 a.m. Wednesday.
    • The 103rd House District covers much of the cities of Champaign and Urbana.

Illinois State House 110th District

    • Republican incumbent Chris Miller has defeated left-leaning Independent Kody Czerwonka.
    • By early Thursday, Miller had won 31,322 votes — or 76% of votes counted thus far in the District. The Associated Press called the race for Miller at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday.
    • The 110th House District covers Coles, Cumberland, Edgar, Clark, Crawford and Lawrence Counties.

Illinois State Senate 52nd District

    • Democratic incumbent Scott Bennett has defeated Republican challenger Alexander “A.J.” Ruggieri.
    • By early Thursday, Bennett had won 53,699 votes — or 63% of votes counted thus far in the District. Bennett has 69% of the vote counted so far in Champaign County.
    • The 52nd Senate District covers much of Vermilion and Champaign Counties, including Champaign, Urbana, Danville, Rantoul and part of Savoy.
    • Over the past decade, Democrats have defeated Republicans to win the 52nd district with more than 60% of the vote. Bennett was elected to his first full term in 2016.

Illinois State Senate 55th District

    • Republican Darren Bailey has defeated Democratic challenger Cynthia Given.
    • By early Thursday, Bailey had won 53,328 votes — or 76% of votes counted thus far.
    • Given and Bailey ran against each other in 2018, when Bailey won the Illinois House seat for District 109. This year, they competed for the seat held by Republican Dale Righter, who is retiring.
    • The 55th Senate District runs from Charleston and Mattoon in the north to Carmi in the south, covering all or part of 14 eastern Illinois counties.

Illinois State House 102nd District

    • Republican incumbent Brad Halbrook has defeated Democrat challenger Mitchell Esslinger.
    • By early Thursday, Halbrook had won 38,973 votes — or 72% of votes counted thus far in the district.
    • Esslinger was Halbrook’s first Democratic opponent. Halbrook ran unopposed for his first two terms in the 102nd District. He was previously elected in 2012 (also with no Democratic opposition) to serve a term representing the 110th District.
    • The 102nd House District covers parts of seven counties, from Macon County in central Illinois to Vermilion and Edgar County along the Indiana border. The district includes the towns of Arcola, Sullivan, Shelbyville, Tuscola, Paris, Chrisman and Homer.

Illinois State House 104th District

    • Republican incumbent Mike Marron has defeated Democratic challenger Cynthia Cunningham with 98% of precincts reporting.
    • By early Wednesday, Marron had won 26,820 votes — or 59% of votes counted thus far in the district. He is narrowly leading in Champaign County with 51% of the vote.
    • The 104th House District covers much of Vermilion and Edgar Counties and parts of Champaign County.


Democrats Lead Several Champaign County Races

Democrats lead several Champaign County races, according to unofficial election results, which includes election day, mail-in and early voting. 

Democrat Mike Ingram narrowly leads Republican incumbent Mark Shelden in the race for county Recorder. Ingram leads Shelden by about 2,300 votes, with all votes that have arrived at the Champaign County Clerk’s office counted. 

The Recorder of Deeds is responsible for maintaining property records for the county, including mortgages, deeds and liens. 

Ingram campaigned on a platform to merge the office of Recorder with that of Champaign County Clerk. Shelden, the incumbent, campaigned to make the office a position that’s appointed by the county executive. Either change would require voter approval in a referendum.

Democrat Cassandra “C.J.” Johnson will be the county’s new treasurer, according to unofficial election results. Johnson leads her opponent, Republican Ted Myhre, with about 55% of the vote, a difference of roughly 10,000 votes. 

Johnson will enter an office beset by a backlog of unfinished work. Former Champaign County Treasurer, Laurel Prussing, a Democrat, resigned from the office last January after one year in the position, and was replaced by interim treasurer Marisol Hughes. Champaign County Democrats rejected Hughes’ bid to run for the two years that remain in the term. 

During her campaign, Johnson pointed to her 22-year career in the Air Force, saying that her military experience has made her adept at solving problems. Myhre, also a veteran, cited his experience in military and civilian operations as the reason why voters should choose him for the job. He also blamed county Democrats for failing to address the office’s problems. 

In the closest race of the night for Circuit Clerk, Democratic challenger Susan McGrath leads Republican incumbent Katie Blakeman by just 52 votes. Blakeman was first elected as Circuit Clerk in 2012.

Champaign County Auditor George Danos appears to have won re-election over Republican challenger Gary Maxwell. Danos won nearly 57 percent of the vote and has a lead of more than 11,000 votes.

The one Republican leading in his race for countywide office is Coroner Duane Northrup, who has held that office since 2004. He leads Democratic challenger Chaundra Bishop by nearly 2500 votes.

Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons says there are about 4,000 mail-in ballots that have not yet been returned. The outstanding ballots returned before November 17 will be counted and included in the county’s final election results.


Funding For Forest Preserve District, Anti-Poverty Referendum Approved

Champaign County voters approved a property tax increase to fund the county Forest Preserve District in Tuesday’s election. The approved referendum will increase the district’s annual revenue by about $689,000.

The new tax revenue will help maintain facilities across six forest preserves—including Lake of the Woods, Middle Fork River and the Kickapoo Rail Trail. Some of the projects include beach restoration, spillway repairs, and improvements to trails and playgrounds. The Forest Preserve District also says the funds will help manage staff shortages.

With the referendum approved, the owner of a home valued at $100,000 in Champaign County will see an increase in their property tax bill of about $5 per year.

The Cunningham Township Anti-Poverty Referendum was also approved by voters in Tuesday’s election. Increasing the Township levy will boost assistance for low-income households in Urbana. The funding will contribute to things like rental assistance and transportation, aiming to aid people particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The owner of an Urbana home valued at $100,000 will pay about $36 more per year to support the assistance programs. The levy increase will raise an estimated $572,545 in additional funds for the Township.

According to Cunningham Township, Champaign County’s poverty rate is higher than the state and national rates. More than 65% of Urbana renters struggled to pay rent before the COVID-19 pandemic.


Miller and Davis Elected To The U.S. House

Republican Rep. Rodney Davis was reelected to a fifth term, defeating Democrat challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in central and southwest Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. And in Illinois’ 15th District covering eastern and southeastern Illinois, Republican Mary Miller will replace Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) who is retiring. Miller defeated Democratic opponent Erika Weaver, an attorney from Mattoon.


Graduated Income Tax Amendment Fails

It appears a ballot proposal that would allow Illinois to switch from a flat tax to a graduated income tax that takes a larger percentage from wealthy residents has gone down to defeat. The switch would have given Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and lawmakers a roadmap to paying down the state’s billions of dollars in debt. The question on the ballot would have amended the Illinois Constitution, which requires that income be taxed at a flat rate. It’s currently at 4.95% for individual payers.

Pritzker campaigned on switching to a graduated rate, contending he could raise $3 billion extra a year while not imposing higher taxes on 97% of taxpayers. The Associated Press has not called this race yet, but it looks like the measure will fail, as the “no” votes are leading the “yes” votes by about ten percentage points, with 98% of precincts reporting. The measure required either 60 percent of votes, or a majority of all ballots cast, to be “yes” votes to pass.

Proponents of the measure conceded defeat just after 9:00 this morning. Vote Yes For Fairness Chairman Quentin Fulks released the following statement:

“We are undoubtedly disappointed with this result but are proud of the millions of Illinoisans who cast their ballots in support of tax fairness in this election.

“Illinois is in a massive budget crisis due to years of a tax system that has protected millionaires and billionaires at the expense of our working families, a crisis that was only made worse by the Coronavirus pandemic. Republican legislators and their billionaire allies who brought us the dysfunction and pain of the Rauner years continue to stand in the way of common sense solutions, choosing instead to play partisan games and deceive the working families of our state. Now lawmakers must address a multi-billion dollar budget gap without the ability to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. Fair Tax opponents must answer for whatever comes next.”

Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch, a prominent opponent of the amendment, released the following statement late last night:

“It is clear that Illinoisans do not trust this legislature and this administration to spend more of their precious tax dollars without restraint. We believe we’re on our way to hearing from the electorate that Illinois needs a lot more than tax increases to fix our economy. While it may not be official this morning, it certainly looks like Illinoisans have made their voices heard and want a plan for rescuing our state that is not just raise taxes, raise taxes and raise taxes some more.”


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