Illinois Insights Special Edition: 2024 Primary Election Results

March 20, 2024



Illinois voters helped set the stage for the 2024 general election by voting in their respective party’s primary elections Tuesday, March 19.

No executive statewide positions were up for election this year, but there was an intra-party matchup in an Illinois Supreme Court race where incumbent Justice Joy Cunningham successfully won her race.

In the state’s legislative races, all 118 Illinois House of Representatives seats were on ballots in this primary, with several incumbents facing challenges. Additionally, more than one-third of the state’s 59 Senate seats had primaries this year.

In Cook County, elections for State’s Attorney, the Circuit Court Clerk, and several other Cook County races were all on the ballot. As of Wednesday morning, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s race to succeed Kim Foxx is still too close to call.

Finally, residents of the City of Chicago voted “no” on the ‘Bring Chicago Home’ referendum. More details are below.

Voter Turnout

With uncompetitive and unexciting presidential primaries, no statewide office races, and no mayor’s race, turnout was low across the state.

According to election officials, Chicago had about 20 percent turnout and suburban Cook County was just more than 15 percent, with only slight increases expected after vote-by-mail ballots are counted. The City is expected to hit a 12-year low in terms of voter turnout.

Even leading up to Election Day, early voting metrics signaled low turnout, with only 91,000 ballots cast in the City before Tuesday, a decrease from 2020 and 2016, which saw 150,000 and 130,000 ballots casted, respectively.

Voters over the age of 55 represented 54 percent of all ballots cast compared to just 17 percent under the age of 35.


U.S. President

The presidential primaries were uncompetitive, as President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump had already unofficially clinched their nominations and faced no major candidates on the ballot.

Voters also chose their preferred presidential delegates, who will formally cast votes on behalf of their candidate during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions later this year.

U.S. House 

At the federal level, voters chose their party’s congressional nominees for the November general election, with all 17 seats of Illinois’ Congressional delegation up for election this year. Neither U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D) nor U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D) was up for reelection this cycle.

An overview of key contested U.S. House races and their outcomes are below.

  • 4th District: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D) defeated Chicago Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) in the heavily Latino 4th Congressional District, 69 percent to 30 percent. Garcia, who is seeking his third term in office, will run unopposed in the November general election.
  • 6th District: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D) handily won the Democratic primary in the Chicago area’s 6th Congressional District. Casten secured 77 percent of the vote, while challengers Mahnoor Ahmad and Charles Hughes secured 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively. In his bid for a fourth term, Casten will face Republican businesswoman Niki Conforti in the general election.
  • 7th District: Despite concerns about his age, incumbent U.S Rep. Danny Davis (D) survived a crowded primary field, winning 53 percent of the overall vote and holding a double digit lead over his four challengers. His opponents included Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, community organizer Kina Collins, former deputy director for Gov. J.B. Pritzker Kouri Marshall, and teacher/principal Nikhit Bhatia. Davis, who is seeking his 15th term, will face Republican Chad Koppie in the general election.
  • 11th District: Eight-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D) easily defeated Naperville human rights attorney Qasin Rashid 77 percent to 23 percent. Foster will face music-school owner Jerry Evans in November, who won the three-candidate Republican primary with 51 percent of the Republican vote.
  • 12th District: With a fundraising advantage and key endorsement from former President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R) defeated former Illinois Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey in the downstate conservative district 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent. Bost will face Brian Roberts, who won the Democratic primary against Preston Nelson, in the deep red and mostly rural district in southern Illinois.


Illinois House

House Speaker Chris Welch highlighted his political influence and power this election cycle, scoring a necessary win in the Illinois 31st District House race to unseat Rep. Mary Flowers (D) after pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race. Overall, the Welch-backed effort saw more than $1.5 million in donations to Flowers’ challenger Michael Crawford.

He also succeeded in other races, with none of his House Democratic incumbents unexpectedly losing their primary election – Reps. Jiménez, du Buclet, Harper, Hanson, Guerrero-Cuellar, Gonzalez, Mah, Slaughter, Jones, and Gill all won.

Democrats, who hold a 78-40 majority in the House and a 40-19 advantage in the Senate, are in no danger of losing control of either chamber in November’s general election. Still, wins in the primary intramural battles are important to district victories in November.

An overview of other key contested Illinois House races and their outcomes are below.

  • 31st District: House Democrats’ hand-picked challenger Michael Crawford has beat state Rep. Mary Flowers, the longest-running Black lawmaker in Illinois, to win the Democratic primary for the Illinois House 31st District. A campus dean at The Chicago School, Crawford was backed by Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who threw hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race to oust his own caucus member due to allegations of abusive behavior.
  • 36th District: In the Democratic primary race to replace outgoing state Rep. Kelly Burke in the 36th House district, which mostly encompasses the southwest suburbs from south suburban Evergreen Park to Palos Hills, attorney and Palos Township Democratic Organization founder Rick Ryan has defeated Sonia Khalil, a Markham city worker and board member of the Arab American Democratic Club 57 percent to 43 percent. Ryan will face Republican Christine Shanahan McGovern in November.
  • 76th District: In the 76th House District race, Rep. Yednock’s (D) former district office director Murri Briel won the three-way Democratic primary to replace the outgoing state representative. Briel secured 36.4 percent of the vote against DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes (32.1 percent) and DeKalb Ald. Carolyn Zasada (31.5 percent). Briel will face Liz Bishop in November, who handily won the Republican primary.
  • 88th District: Mt. Zion School Board member Regan Deering from Decatur has defeated McLean County Board member Chuck Erickson from Bloomington in the 88th House District Republican primary race to replace outgoing Rep. Dan Daulkins (R). Deering won 71 percent of the vote to Erickson’s 29 percent. She is running unopposed in the general election.
  • 99th District: Former Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore has secured the Republican nomination to replace Rep. Randy Frese (R), who is not seeking reelection. Moore defeated Cass County Board member Eric Snellgrove 73 percent to 27 percent, and will run unopposed in the general election.
  • 102nd District: In one of the more unusual primary races where no candidate is officially listed on the ballot for either party, write-in candidate and current state Representative Adam Niemerg (R) is facing off against write-in candidate Jim Acklin. Votes have not yet been counted but will likely be more complete later in the week. Niemerg was removed from the ballot in January after he failed to properly notarize his nomination papers. As a result, Acklin, who is a mayor and school superintendent in rural Champaign County, filed to challenge Niemerg as a write-in candidate in the Republican primary. Aklin was backed by the Illinois Education Association (IEA).

Illinois Senate

In the state’s most contested legislative race, Senate President Don Harmon was not able to defend appointed incumbent Sen. Natalie Toro in 20th Senate District primary race for the seat in which Toro replaced former Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, who stepped down last year to work as Mayor Brandon Johnson’s deputy chief of staff.

An overview of other key contested Illinois Senate races and their outcomes are below.

  • 20th District: CTU organizer and liberal and progressive-backed Graciela Guzmán has declared victory in one of the state’s most costly and closely watched primaries that “tested the Democratic establishment muscle.” She defeated incumbent Sen. Natalie Toro (D), who was appointed to the Northwest Side’s 20th state Senate district in July and who received more than one million dollars from Senate President Don Harmon’s campaign operation. Guzmán defeated Toro 49.8 percent to 30.4 percent, while other candidates in the Democratic primary race included self-funded physician Dave Nayak and activist Geary Yonker. In the state’s progressive district, Guzman will face Jason Proctor in the general election, who ran unopposed.
  • 37th District: Former Dixon Mayor Li Arellano has won the Republican seat to replace retiring Sen. Win Stoller (R) in the solid red 37th District near Peoria. Arellano defeated Henry County Board member Tim Yager and Dixon Ald. Chris Bishop with 51 percent of the total vote. There are no Democrats running for the seat, meaning Arellano will run unopposed in the November general election.
  • 40th District: In one of only two Democratic senate districts to have a primary election, incumbent Sen. Patrick Joyce (D) fought off a primary challenge from Kimberly Earling, winning nearly 80 percent of the vote. He will face Republican Philip Nagel in the general election, who is running unopposed and who lost to Joyce by 11 percent in 2022.
  • 53rd District: Grundy County Board Chair Chris Balkema from Channahon has won the Republican primary to succeed State Sen. Tom Bennett (R) in the 53rd Illinois Senate race, with 50 percent of the total vote. Bennett was appointed to the seat in 2023 after State Sen. Jason Barickman announced he was retiring; Bennett did not choose to run for a full term. Other candidates included Pontiac High School agriculture teacher Jesse Faber, farmer and veteran Mike Kirkton from Gridley, and Bennett’s chief of staff and former Iroquois County Board member Susan Wynn Bence from Watseka. Balkema will run unopposed in November.


Incumbent Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham has defeated Appellate Judge Jesse Reyes 75 percent to 25 percent in the Supreme Court First District Democratic primary focused on racial identity.

Cunningham was appointed in 2022 to fill the vacancy of Justice Anne Burke, the wife of convicted longtime powerbroker former Ald. Ed Burke. She will now serve a full ten-year term on the bench.

Cunningham, one of three Black justices on the seven-member court, was backed by the Cook County Democrats, CTU, and Personal PAC, an abortion rights political action committee. Reyes, who had backing of several Latino groups, campaigned on the argument that the election is a historic chance to put a Latino on the high court.

No Republican candidates filed for the race, so Cunningham is likely to win the seat in November, in which case the court’s Democratic 5-2 majority would remain unchanged.


Cook County State’s Attorney

A heated race likely to decide the next state’s attorney for Cook County remains too close to call Wednesday morning, with Eileen O’Neill Burke currently leading against Clayton Harris III 51.0 percent to 49.0 percent.

In the race to succeed Kim Foxx, former prosecutor Harris was endorsed by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who has used her power and political influence to put her stamp on multiple races throughout Illinois politics.

But former assistant state’s attorney and appellate court justice O’Neill Burke jumped out to an early lead, which slowly narrowed as more votes from Chicago were tallied for Harris. Just under 10,000 votes separated the two candidates as of early Wednesday morning, with 84 percent of the vote counted.

O’Neill Burke, who had the backing of moderate Democrats and much of the business community, is leading in the suburbs by about eight points with all precincts reporting, according to the Cook County Clerk’s Office. In the city, Harris is ahead by just over two points with 1,271 of 1,291 precincts reporting.

About 109,000 mail-in ballots remain outstanding, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. With this year’s low voter turnout, elections board spokesperson Max Bever said the board is expecting “more like 70,000” of those ballots to be returned and counted.

Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies will continue to monitor this race.

The winner will face Libertarian Andrew Charles Kopinski and former Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary for state’s attorney. A Republican has not won the state’s attorney’s office since 1992.

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos defeated incumbent Iris Martinez in the Democratic primary for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, 65 percent to 35 percent.

Martinez faced an uphill battle this cycle when she was not slated for reelection by the Cook County Democratic Party, a reflection of her supporting candidates in 2022 who weren’t party-endorsed.

Instead, Spyropoulos was backed by county Democrats and progressive public employees unions as well as the Teamsters, who represent most of the office’s employees.

Spyropoulos will face off against Lupe Aguirre in the November general election, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

Martinez also lost her Democratic 34th ward committeeperson race to Ald. Rossana Rodríguez Sánchez.

Cook County Board of Commissioners

Cook County Board Commissioner Tara Stamps (D-1), who was appointed last summer to fill the vacancy on the board left by Mayor Brandon Johnson’s election, handily won the Democratic primary in the special election to keep her appointed seat.

Stamps, who had the backing of County Board President and head of the Cook County Democratic Party Toni Preckwinkle, defeated West Side activist Zerlina Smith-Members with nearly 85 percent of the vote.

Stamps will compete in the general election against Libertarian James Humay, who ran unopposed in the primary, to retain her appointed seat and serve out the remainder of Johnson’s county board term through 2026.

Cook County Board of Review

Veteran Cook County tax appeals board commissioner Larry Rogers Jr. successfully held off a challenge from Larecia Tucker in the 3rd District to win the party nomination for a sixth term as one of three commissioners on the county’s Board of Review.

Rogers faced heavy spending from Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money to back newcomer Larecia Tucker and to try to unseat Rogers.

During his campaign, Rogers accused Kaegi of acting unethically, arguing that it was a conflict of interest for Kaegi to almost entirely fund his challenger and try to replace him with an ally at the agency that checks the assessor’s work.

Rogers defeated Tucker 62 percent to 38 percent.


Despite surviving multiple court challenges from building management and real estate organizations, Chicago voters seem likely to reject a referendum that would’ve raised the transfer tax on properties that sell for over $1 million and lower the rate on properties that sell for less than that amount. An additional increase would’ve been implemented for properties sold over $1.5 million. The added revenue would be used to fund homelessness programs, though details of how much will be spent on what had yet to be decided.

According to unofficial results from the Chicago Board of Elections, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, 53.7 percent of votes were against the referendum, to 46.3 percent in favor. Mail-in ballots are still being counted, and the results won’t be official for weeks.

In an election already marked by historically low voter turnout, the ballot question faced a drop-off rate of roughly 10 percent. The ballot question also significantly underperformed in Black precincts.

Opponents, who had coined Mayor Johnson’s initiative a “mansion tax,” claimed the measure would be another shock to a commercial real estate market still reeling from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure’s defeat is a disappointing blow to Mayor Brandon Johnson, whose campaign touted the initiative as a way to fund more housing programs for people experiencing homelessness.

All election results current as of Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 9:00 AM CST

If you have any questions regarding this update or if you’re interested in ways to engage on these issues, please contact one of our team members here.


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