2022 Primary Election Preview (with Election Day updates)

Posted June 27, 2022 by Nick Mastro

Photo: Rabine for Governor billboard which welcomes drivers to Cook County, “America’s Crime Capitol”, at North Ave and Villa Ave in Villa Park (not particularly close to the county line).

It’s the eve of the Illinois primary and I’m here with some news and thoughts about the elections tomorrow. 

Much of the statewide attention has been focused on the Republican gubernatorial primary, where several candidates may be competitive in DuPage county and statewide. Eastern Bloc Sen. Darren Bailey has been gaining traction in recent weeks, culminating in Donald Trump’s endorsement at a rally with Rep. Mary Miller- a move likely to help Bailey seal the deal in the GOP primary but not help in November. Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin- who represents part of DuPage and has endorsements from some local officials such as Dan Cronin and Greg Hart- seemed to have an early lead due to Ken Griffin’s financial assistance. That lead has since dissipated due to constant attacks from other candidates, who have questioned Irvin’s partisan loyalty. Jesse Sullivan may have gained some traction recently but seems unlikely to have a serious path to the nomination, and paver Gary Rabine may be in single digits outside of Chicagoland. Former Metro East area State Sen. Paul Schimpf has failed to gain traction despite his Chicago Tribune endorsement, and Attorney Max Solomon is probably running the least active campaign. Several candidates are in contention but Bailey seems to be the likely nominee.

The secretary of state primary to replace Jesse White is worth watching in both parties. Attorney John Milhiser, who is running on the well funded Griffin/Irvin slate, would likely be a weaker statewide candidate than Bloomington State Rep. Dan Brady. The Democratic primary has been primarily a contest between former State Treasurer and losing 2010 Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago city clerk Anna Valencia, with Chicago Alderman David Moore having much less institutional and financial support. 

There are several contested primaries in both parties for county board. All three seats for each district are up for election this year. Parties can slate candidates after a primary election, but in District 1 only a single Democrat filed. Incumbent Democrat Ashley Selmon made a statement on her website explaining her choice against running for re-election, partially due to “members of my own political party who have a long-standing history of harassment and bullying within the workplace”. 

The Republican primary for County Board Chairman to replace Dan Cronin has been a highly contested and visible race that District 3 board member Greg Hart seems to be favored to win. The endorsement of Cronin, as well as Lee Daniels and Jim Durkin, has carried a lot of weight in making Hart the establishment GOP choice. His opponent, District 2 board member and former Elmhurst mayor Pete DiCianni, was heavily criticized for his actions surrounding a protest in 2020 that I have previously written about. DiCianni received a significant setback recently when, according to DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick, he sent a negative mailer with Mendrick’s wife on it that had repercussions. DiCianni lost the endorsement of the Addison Township GOP and their Chairman, former circuit court clerk Chris Kachiroubas. The saga is explained in several posts on Mendrick’s campaign Facebook page. DiCianni has not appeared to mention it on his page. It’s not the first political issue that DiCianni has been careful with making public statements about; when Rep. Deb Conroy, the Democratic candidate for board chairman, was targeted by escalating right-wing harassment over misinformation, Hart joined the Republican bandwagon of criticizing Conroy’s “innocuous bill” (as it was described by Rich Miller of Capitol Fax) while DiCianni refrained, calling Conroy a friend.

It will be particularly interesting to watch the partisan turnout composition tomorrow and how that changes throughout the county compared to 2020. As a midterm year without a Presidential primary to drive turnout, it remains to be seen how local and statewide races will affect swing voters’ behavior in our state’s open primary system.

Edits: After the publication of this article I also noticed that Jim Zay, posting from the DuPage GOP account on Facebook, condemned DiCianni’s mailer: https://www.facebook.com/DuPageGOP/posts/pfbid02QV3BxrXvEPBjpbbgPcjdrCjD9tcTQqVQeypRKcE3MvjRuBKznaFF9phY4x9Z63fNl

DuPage residents can vote at any polling place in the county today due to a new program being implemented County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek. DuPage will be the only county in the state with a “vote anywhere” policy in today’s primary election. This could increase accessibility for voters today that would normally be turned away for showing up to the wrong location and sometimes may not end up voting at all. I’m curious to see how these votes will be added and possibly differentiated on the county result website tonight. https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-politics/election-2022-dupage-county-first-in-state-to-allow-for-residents-to-vote-anywhere-tuesday/2867592/

Turnout is looking fairly high for a midterm primary https://abc7chicago.com/illinois-primary-election-2022-early-voting-chicago/11998522/

https://dupagepolicyjournal.com/stories/627852213-newsome-the-illinois-republican-party-needs-to-get-much-more-aggressive-in-our-fight-against-radical-leftists… This propaganda article about a Downers Grove Township Republican precinct committeeman candidate (a typically uncontested and low profile position) is quite weird to say the least. Also worth watching: Lisle Township Supervisor (and former candidate to replace Bob Peickert as DPDC chair) Diane Hewitt has a primary challenger, Daniel Shields, for her position as a Democratic PC. Shields was endorsed in a letter by current DuPage Dems chair Ken Mejia-Beal. Mejia-Beal later apologized in a Facebook post on his public figure page for misusing official party letterhead “in error”, and said that party funds were not used. Mejia-Beal was not apologizing for (or directly referencing) the contents of the aforementioned letter, but took responsibility for his mistake with party letterhead and assured that his “goals have not changed in the least bit”.

County board District 1 candidate Maria Reyes (R) alleges various forms of misbehavior by opponent Cindy Cronin Cahill, including a confrontation at the Elmhurst Memorial Day Parade, labelling it the “toughest part” of her campaign. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid02o4U5nqohP8QtyaQE3etrVKQVbWJrJUcVg35G5JZZC8h1FzeXuyWGmYcGhjYCkEuMl&id=100077089280491

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