Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (11/11)

November 11, 2022


IDPH Announces More than 1.5 Million Illinoisans Have Received Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccines, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Jim Durkin will not seek another term leading Illinois House GOP

After nine years as the Republican House Minority Leader, Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) announced Wednesday he will not seek another term as his caucus’ leader.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as leader of the House Republican caucus, but it’s time for the Illinois Republican Party to rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party that are needed to bring change to the state,” Durkin said in a statement.

House Republicans, who hoped to chip away at the Democratic super majority in the state legislature this midterm, instead lost roughly four to five seats. Durkin blamed the abysmal showing from Republicans on the current far-right state of the party and the negative influence from Donald Trump.

Durkin and the Republican Party suffered a drastic financial disadvantage in the races, lacking a large donor to contribute to the caucus. In the primary, Durkin allied himself with billionaire Ken Griffin, but Griffin’s move to Florida, along with increased donations from billionaire Gov. JB Pritzker to Democratic candidates, made Republican success very unlikely.

It is unclear whether or not Durkin will stay on in the House, but many believe it unlikely. Among those who might make a run at the leadership role are Rep. Tim Ozinga (37th) and Rep. Dan Caulkins (88th), who both won their seats unopposed.


Constitutional right for collective bargaining positioned for narrow passage: “An amendment to the Illinois Constitution to make collective bargaining a constitutional right was on track to pass, though its success will not be officially determined until the State Board of Elections certifies the results. The amendment had support from 58.7 percent of voters who voted on the question as of Wednesday,” by The Daily Line.

Pritzker ready ‘to get back to work’ in second term he says he plans to complete: “After a passionate victory speech Tuesday night that included direct references to former President Donald Trump and criticisms of the Republican Party, Pritzker insisted he is focused on his next four years as governor after completing a solid victory over Republican challenger Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia),” by The Daily Line.

Pritzker Administration Makes $8.75 Million in Forgivable Loans Available for Social Equity Cannabis Licensees: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today announced that $8.75 million in Direct Forgivable Loans fully financed by the State will be made available to all conditionally-approved social equity loan applicants in order to provide immediate access to capital,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Illinois Reaches Six Consecutive Months of Record Low Unemployment Claims: “The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Monday the state has recorded a new, unprecedented number of consecutive weeks below historic continued claims levels for regular unemployment insurance benefits,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Cook County Board could see no change in political makeup despite close races, Morita becomes first Asian American woman elected to board: “While almost all Democratic incumbents on the Cook County Board of Commissioners won reelection Tuesday, the board’s two Republican-held seats had close races to retain the small sliver of conservative representation on the board,” by The Daily Line.


Chuy Garcia announces run for mayor, puts weeks-long speculation to rest

U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) officially announced his bid for mayor at a rooftop restaurant on Navy Pier Thursday, ending the weeks-long speculation of whether or not the congressman would put his name in the ring.

The announcement marks Garcia’s second run for the fifth-floor office after losing in 2015 in a runoff election to then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who capitalized on Garcia’s failure to articulate a plan to solve Chicago’s looming pension crisis.

One difference from his 2015 campaign, however, is that Garcia does not have the endorsement of his lifelong allies in the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). Unwilling to wait for Garcia to make up his mind, the CTU, along with the Service Employees International Union Local 73, have already thrown their support behind progressive Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, making Garcia’s path forward murkier than it was two cycles ago.

Garcia, along with Johnson, have criticized Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s broken campaign promises to reopen mental health clinics, revive the Department of the Environment, and ease Chicago’s affordable housing crisis.

In total, ten challengers are seeking to replace Lightfoot, but Garcia believes his background portrays him as a candidate uniquely qualified to handle the current economic situation in Chicago. Other candidates who have announced bids for mayor include Ald. Raymond Lopez (15), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6), Ald. Sophia King (4), state Rep. Kam Buckner, community activist Ja’Mal Green, former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, and businessman Willie Wilson.


City Council Panel Rejects Push to Ban No-Knock Warrants, Restrict Raids: “A key city panel rejected a proposal Thursday to ban no-knock warrants and restrict how Chicago police officers can raid homes that was backed by Anjanette Young, the Chicago woman who was handcuffed while naked by officers who ignored her pleas for help during a botched raid in February 2019,” by WTTW.

City Of Chicago Secures First Moody’s Investment Grade Upgrade in 12-Years: “Mayor Lightfoot Tuesday announced that Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded the City of Chicago’s General Obligation Debt to a Baa3 rating. This upgrade marks the first upgrade the City of Chicago has received from Moody’s in 12 years. The Moody’s upgrade of one notch from Ba1 to Baa3 brings every City of Chicago rating to an investment grade and serves as an independent acknowledgment of the tremendous financial accomplishments of the City to stabilize its finances,” the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Ald. Tom Tunney won’t run for Chicago mayor, sources say: “Ald. Tom Tunney, who represents Lakeview and Wrigleyville in the City Council and owns Ann Sather restaurant, had been mulling a run for weeks and posed a potentially formidable threat to Lightfoot as his candidacy could’ve divided up her original base of support on the North Side. But Tunney, who has previously considered bids for the top job at City Hall, decided not to run against Lightfoot,” by The Chicago Tribune.

CTA president addresses aldermen’s concerns about safety, timeliness, cleanliness on transit: “Aldermen on Thursday conveyed their concerns about Chicago Transit Authority public safety, cleanliness and timeliness to CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. during a hearing before the Committee on Transportation and Public Way. Carter said some of the things afflicting his agency include difficulty hiring new operators at the same time as many employees have left positions. Carter also said “ongoing absenteeism” attributed to persistent COVID-19 infections among staff is a challenge,” by The Daily Line.

City Council committee votes down added CPS oversight: “An ordinance that would have tied Chicago Public Schools funding to officials’ appearances at quarterly meetings with the City Council’s Education Committee was voted down Wednesday. The vote followed a fierce debate and a late amendment that attempted to assuage the fears of aldermen who approved of the attempt to hold regular meetings with CPS leadership but balked at using funding as the stick to force CPS into compliance,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mayoral allies move to put 3 advisory referendums on Feb. 28 ballot: “Three of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s closest City Council allies have introduced advisory referendums — on the Commonwealth Edison bribery scandal, a proposed assault weapons ban and homelessness — that would crowd off the Feb. 28 ballot two questions proposed by former Gov. Pat Quinn,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

City panel OKs $18 million in TIF money for mHub: “A city panel Tuesday signed off on a plan for Near West Side taxpayers to provide nearly $18 million to help advanced manufacturing incubator mHub purchase and move to a historic building in the neighborhood,” by Crain’s Chicago Business. 


These are the races that haven’t been called and will determine the control of Congress

Senate — CNN has not made a projection in two seats – Arizona and Nevada. Georgia’s Senate race is headed to a runoff, CNN projected earlier this week.

In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt currently leads Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto by about 9,000 votes. As of Thursday evening, CNN’s Decision Desk estimated that approximately 95,000 votes remained to be counted in the state. By-mail ballots can be received in Nevada through Saturday as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

In Arizona, CNN’s Decision Desk estimates that about 540,000 votes remain to be counted. Vote reports from Thursday night expanded Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s lead, and he’s currently ahead of Republican Blake Masters by about 115,000 votes.

House – CNN is yet to make a projection in 26 races.

CNN made nine House projections Thursday, seven for Democrats and two for Republicans. These include two seats in California with two Democratic candidates. While CNN cannot yet project which candidate will win those seats, CNN put both in the Democratic column.

Republicans need to win seven more seats to reach the 218 needed to control the House, Democrats need to win 20 more seats to reach 218.

All election results are current as of Friday, November 11, 2022 at 10:00 AM CST. Read the full report by CNN Politics here.


Illinois elects Democrat Eric Sorensen to US House seat: “A battleground race between newbies aiming to fill retiring U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos’ seat in Illinois’ 17th district tipped in Democrat Eric Sorensen’s favor, representing a key win for the party as it tries to maintain control of Congress. Sorenson, a meteorologist from Rockford, defeated Republican Esther Joy King, a lawyer who serves in the Army Reserve, in Tuesday’s election. The northwestern Illinois district stretches from Rockford in the north to Peoria and Bloomington in central Illinois. The Associated Press called the close race on Thursday,” by The Associated Press.


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