2022 Illinois Primary Election Summary | McGuire Woods Consulting

2022 Illinois Primary Election Summary

The Illinois primary election was held on June 28, 2022. Election results favored far-right Republicans and progressive Democrats, who defeated more moderate candidates in a number of races. On the other hand, candidates backed by Democratic and Republican leaders in the General Assembly have suffered defeats at the hands of more left- or right-wing challengers. It remains to be seen whether far-right Donald Trump-style candidates can win across the state of Illinois, especially in suburban Chicago. In addition, the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade could provide another reason for moderate suburban voters to vote Democratic in a year that would otherwise likely favor Republicans.

The statewide turnout was estimated at less than 20%, the lowest since 2014, when 18.1% of registered voters cast ballots in the primaries. Turnout in Chicago and suburban Cook County was also estimated at just under 20%. DuPage County had the highest voter turnout in the Chicago area at about 22%. Many southern Illinois counties also reported around 20% turnout. The low number of votes is typical of midterm primaries. This year’s particularly low figures could still be influenced by the anomalous primary date in June.

Here is information on the main primary races:


Govt. JB Pritzker easily withstood a main challenge from Beverly Miles, winning over 90% of the vote.

In the Republican gubernatorial primary, far-right state Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) defeated five opponents, winning over 57% of the vote. Notably, Bailey beat Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan. Irvin was backed by billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and received more than $50 million in campaign funds from Griffin. After months of Irvin as the presumptive frontrunner, Bailey’s campaign got a belated push by calling himself the Trump candidate. Bailey received former President Trump’s endorsement about a week before the election, but by that point he was already the clear frontrunner. With his candidate almost certain to lose, Ken Griffin has announced that he and his company will leave Chicago for Miami about a week before the election. Governor Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) ran a number of ads linking Bailey to Trump, believing Bailey would be easier to defeat in the general election than a more moderate candidate. Bailey’s victory signals a shift in direction within the Illinois Republican Party, giving more control to the far right.


Former State Treasurer Alexis Giannoulias defeated Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and two other Democratic primary candidates for Secretary of State.

Giannoulias will face the deputy leader of the House of Republicans Dan Brady (R-Bloomington), who beat former U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, John Milhiser, backed by Ken Griffin, with more than 75% of the vote in the Republican primary. With the retirement of longtime incumbent Jesse White, this is the first open race for secretary of state since 1998.


Incumbent Attorney General Kwame Raoul had no Democratic lead challenger. Thomas DeVore, a lawyer who successfully overturned Governor Pritzker’s COVID-19 school mask mandate, defeated Ken Griffin-backed international business attorney Steve Kim and attorney and author David Shestokas in the Republican primary. This is a new victory for the far right of the Republican Party.


Incumbent Sen. Tammy Duckworth did not have a Democratic primary opponent. suburban lawyer Kathy Salvi defeated six challengers in the Republican primary to face Senator Duckworth in November.


jonathan jackson, the son of civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson, won the Democratic primary to replace incumbent Representative Bobby Rush. Jackson defeated a wide range of candidates, with none winning more than 30% of the vote.


In this newly created Latinx-majority district, State Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago) defeated Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36) in the Democratic primary. Ramirez was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive groups, providing a victory for progressives over moderates.


representing Sean Casten defeated Rep. Marie Newman in the 6e district Democratic primary. The redistricting placed both incumbents in the same district in an effort to create a second Latinx-majority district in the Chicago area. Two weeks before Election Day, Casten paused his campaign to mourn the loss of his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen. Newman has dealt with legal issues throughout the campaign.


Representative representative Danny Davis defeated gun violence and criminal justice reform advocate Kina Collins in the Democratic primary. In a 2020 rematch, Collins challenged Davis from the left. However, in 2020, she only got 14% of the vote. This time, Collins lost less than 7% and outshot Davis in the suburban parts of the district.


representing Mary Miller defeated Rep. Rodney Davis in that race which pitted two incumbent Republicans against each other. The former district of Davis was designed to be more Democrat-friendly, so he decided to run against Miller in the very conservative 15e district. Davis positioned himself as more moderate than Miller. However, an endorsement from Trump was enough for Miller to win in that Illinois district, handing the far-right Republicans another victory over the moderates.


Kevin Olickal defeated one-term incumbent Denyse Wang Stoneback (D-Skokie) in the Democratic primary. Stoneback was backed by House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside), while Olickal had the backing of associate district senator Ram Villivalam. While running as a progressive in 2020, Stoneback faced controversy over the hiring of a former Evanston employee who was involved in the public beach sexual misconduct scandal. Olickal won the progressive vote this time to beat Stoneback by around 5%.


Outgoing representative Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) was beaten by his challenger Abdelnasser Rachid in the Democratic primary. Zalewski’s moderate views, his ties to former House Speaker Madigan, and his vote against repealing the Parental Abortion Notification Act were used effectively against him, despite strong support from Speaker Welch and other members of the House Democrats.


Incumbent House Republican Conference Speaker David Welter (R-Morris) was defeated by Darren Bailey, backed Jed Davis, a Christian school president, in the Republican primary. It’s another win for far-right Republicans and a loss for House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), who backed Welter.


Challenger supported by Chuy Garcia Norma Hernandez defeated incumbent Rep. Kathleen Willis in the Democratic primary. Hernandez campaigned on a progressive platform to represent this majority Latino district. Willis has come under fire for her ties to former House Speaker Madigan, despite being the only member of his leadership team not to support his re-election as Speaker.


Travis Weaver, the son of former state senator Chuck Weaver, defeated incumbent Rep. Mark Luft in the Republican primary. Darren Bailey endorsed Weaver, while Chief Durkin endorsed Luft.


outgoing senator Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) withstood a primary challenge from Chicago Police Officer Erin Jones. Martwick was the primary target of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which supported Jones and opposed Martwick’s votes on criminal justice reform legislation, such as the SAFE-T Act. Martwick had the support of teachers’ and firefighters’ unions, having sponsored key legislation for both groups, including Chicago’s elected school board. Although he voted in the recent Democratic primaries, Jones had ties to the Northwest Side GOP Club.


Former representative Marie Eldy Allen defeated Representative Sam Yingling in this Democratic primary to replace incumbent Senator Melinda Bush. Eldy-Allen had Senator Bush’s backing, and a late endorsement from Governor Pritzker helped her win.


outgoing senator Earn Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) defeated challenger Brett Nicklaus in the hotly contested Republican primary. Stoller was endorsed by Darren Bailey, while Nicklaus had the backing of House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.


Newly appointed Sen. Eric Mattson (D-Joliet) lost to Will County Board Member Rachel Ventura in this Democratic primary. Ventura ran a progressive campaign and was able to win, despite Mattson’s nomination to fill the remainder of incumbent Senator John Connor’s term and his significant fundraising advantage.

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