SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Hundreds of Illinois political candidates lined up Monday morning in front of the Illinois State Board of Elections, which is a sign filing period has started in Illinois.
Illinois Governor’s Race
One of the most talked-about races this year is for governor.
WMBD spoke exclusively with incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Illinois) just before he entered the office to file his petitions. Pritzker said he spent much of his first term playing clean-up for past administrations.
J.B. Pritzker (D)
“We’re reversing the damage Bruce Rauner has done to our state. Remember, when we came into office, he had an anti-worker agenda he left us with. He had broken down social services that people really needed,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker is ramping up his re-election campaign, while Republican candidates hope to take the governor’s mansion back.
Beverly Miles (D)
Democratic candidate Beverly Miles told WMBD Tuesday morning she plans to file her petitions on March 14.
WMBD spoke throughout the morning with GOP gubernatorial candidates Paul Schimpf, Darren Bailey, and Gary Rabine. Each candidate spoke on why they think they are the best choice to lead Illinois.
Paul Schimpf (R)
“I spent my adult life in the United States Marine Corps. I was an infantry officer and a prosecutor in the Marines. Worked the trial of Saddam Hussein, got out, came back to Illinois. Got into politics, I was a state senator, and I am running for governor now,” Schimpf said.
Darren Bailey (R)
“They’ve got to feel safe, or they’re not going to live here. We’ve got to have a good education system, or they’re not going to stay here. Then, if we can’t get our taxes under control, that’s why they’re leaving,” Bailey said.
Gary Rabine (R)
“We’ve got a lot of problems. Highest property tax in the country now. That’s ridiculous. That’s unfair. We’ve got to get more red in Springfield and I think we’re going to do that,” Rabine said.
Secretary of State’s Race
All six statewide elections are up for grabs, including Illinois Secretary of State.
WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with three candidates Monday morning who are looking to replace the retiring Jesse White.
Anna Valencia (D)
“I’m very excited because I will be the first woman Secretary of State in our history. As I file today, that is not lost on me. On the history we can be making, as my little girl watches as we turn in these petitions today,” said Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia.
David Moore (D)
“I tell people there are two people I keep my eyes on. Anybody who says they want to be a preacher, and anybody saying they wanna be an elected official. It’s a calling on your life. When you get that calling, you run, and that’s what happened in this case,” said Chicago 17th Ward Alderman David Moore.
Dan Brady (R)
“It is a tradition I like to come myself, file myself, and make sure everything goes okay in the filing process. You’re the one responsible for having your petitions and making sure they end up where they’re supposed to go,” State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Normal) told Sheehan during a live interview on WMBD This Morning.
Statewide candidates had to file at least 3,250 petitions, but no more than 6,500.
Sheehan spoke with congressional candidates about the situation in Ukraine.
Esther Joy King (R)
“Overall, I think we have seen heroism from Ukraine, and we’ve seen lack of leadership from the Biden Administration. We need better leadership in Washington, D.C. and that’s why I’m running for Congress,” said Republican candidate Esther Joy King.
Dr. Litesa Wallace (D)
“I stand with the people of Ukraine, first of all. We must do that to stand up for democracy across the globe. I do believe that our state should be a welcoming place for refugees,” said Democratic candidate Dr. Litesa Wallace.
As a former prosecutor and Marine, Gubernatorial candidate Paul Schimpf said Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to be charged with war crimes.
Winter weather challenges for candidates
The biggest challenge candidates have had this election season so far has nothing to do with politics at all.
Anna Valancia (D)
“It’s been a little bit of a challenge because you’re getting signatures in the dead of winter. We had to get creative with doing drive-thru petition drives. My parents, in Granite City, collected 1,500 on their own,” Secretary of State candidate Anna Valencia said.
Dennis Tipsword (R)
“Always tough weather this time of the year. Then we had COVID on top of that. There were a lot less opportunities. But you know, it’s a necessary process, and we just had to find our way through it,” Republican candidate for Illinois’ 105th District Dennis Tipsword said.
One reason candidates want to arrive Monday before 8 a.m. is to enter a lottery to be first on the ballot.
“If you’re in line at 8 a.m., your name goes into a lottery, and it will determine whether your name will appear first, second, or third on the primary ballot. We typically get several hundred people lined up outside our door, long before 8 a.m.,” Illinois State Board of Elections Public Information Officer Matt Dietrich said.
Dietrich broke down how this year’s filing period looked much different than years past.
“The maps didn’t get finished until much later. The primary got moved from March to June 28. They had a 60-day period to collect their petitions, instead of 90. Therefore, they’re collecting 1/3 fewer,” he said.
It does not matter what party a candidate is running in, big money can have a big impact on their election process.
While it does not guarantee they will be elected, it definitely helps get the word out more about their campaign.
Big money in elections
A few ways we have seen big money play out already are in the race for Illinois governor.
In mid-January, the State Board of Elections reported Gov. Pritzker donated $90 million to his own campaign. WMBD obtained this document, as well as a document showcasing a $20 million donation to GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Irvin’s campaign. Irvin’s donation came from billionaire hedge fund CEO Ken Griffin.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports a Pritzker spokesperson said some of those funds will go to other Democratic candidates and causes.
Griffin said he would pledge up to $300 million to defeat Pritzker this November.
The State Board of Elections said one-way campaigns can utilize their money is by hiring workers to gather petitions.
“It’s fairly common for candidates to hire temporary agencies to send temp workers around to collect their signatures. It’s not uncommon,” Dietrich said.
The Associated Press reports Ken Griffin’s money nearly single-handedly defeated Pritzker’s 2020 ballot measure to allow a graduated income tax.
Griffin is the CEO of a multinational hedge fund, Citadel. Griffin was also a major contributor to former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s failed 2018 re-election bid against Pritzker.
Whether it happens in-person or by utilizing vote-by-mail, voting during this election season will be different than many years in the past.
While vote-by-mail is still expected to be up this year, Dietrich said more people will be wanting to fill out their ballots in person.
“You’re not going to have the motivation of people really wanting to stay in and not go out and vote. I do expect we’ll see more than the 10% in a pre-Pandemic election, maybe not the 1/3 of total votes,” Dietrich said.
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs sent a statement to WMBD on the filing process.
Michael Frerichs (D)
“Petition gathering went very well, and we are all pleased to have significant support from throughout the state,” Frerichs said. “We filed this morning with more than enough signatures and look forward to the upcoming campaign. A special thanks to all the volunteers that made this possible.”
WMBD has continued coverage with many more candidates. Stay tuned for more content the rest of the week.