Tom Kacich: Champaign-Urbana the big outlier in area results

Tom Kacich: Champaign-Urbana the big outlier in area results

Champaign-Urbana, you are incredibly out of step with the rest of the country.

You voted Tuesday for Hillary Clinton. You voted to raise taxes. And you voted in greater numbers than in 2012.

Not only did Donald Trump win every county around Champaign County — in Iroquois County, he got more than 75 percent of the vote — but in rural counties especially, he got hundreds more votes than Mitt Romney did four years ago.

Many of those votes clearly came from disaffected Democrats. In Moultrie County, for example, Trump got 4,453 votes Tuesday to Romney's 3,784 in 2012 — a gain of 669. Perhaps not coincidentally, Clinton got 668 fewer votes than Barack Obama did four years ago. In Piatt County, Trump gained 210 votes while Clinton lost 457. In Douglas County, Trump gained 361 while Clinton lost 484.

But in Champaign County, Trump's total was 2,077 fewer than Romney's, and Clinton's was 8,864 greater than Obama's.

Clinton won every precinct in Champaign (39 of them) and Urbana (23). In nine, she got more than 80 percent of the vote, led by City of Champaign 1, an majority-black precinct on the north side of the city, where she got 93.42 percent. In raw votes, that was 667-28.

Outside of Champaign-Urbana, though, the presidential voting was very different.

Of 56 suburban or rural precincts in Champaign County, Trump won 46, two of them with 80 percent or more of the vote: Ogden 2 and Stanton.

Trump won big majorities in the Mahomet and St. Joseph precincts — 60 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

Further, it appears that voter turnout was down nationally, but up remarkably in Champaign County — 13,201 greater than in 2012, about 7,330 more than in the previous record set in 2008.

And then there was the $183.4 million bond issue for facilities improvements that voters in the Champaign school district approved — by a 66-to-34-percent margin. Even in some of the most conservative precincts in the school district, such as Champaign 3 and City of Champaign 38, the big increase to property taxes was approved.

As for turnout, Champaign County set a record for greatest turnout in a presidential election — 92,143, besting the old mark of 84,804 in 2008.

Most of the increase in turnout came from Champaign-Urbana. In Urbana, the 2016 turnout was 17,307, up from 16,081 in 2008. In Champaign, the 2016 turnout was 35,539, up from 31,114 in 2008.

The precinct with the highest turnout was Cunningham 10, in central Urbana, with an 83.96 percent rate. But City of Champaign 21, in central Champaign, was close behind at 83.41 percent.

Nationally, preliminary calculations suggest that the total turnout was about 124 million, down from 129 million in 2012 and 131 million in 2008.

Irony of the election

The ballot question to have Champaign County adopt the county-executive form of government — a likely costly adventure and a move toward big county government — was pushed by the county farm bureau and chamber of commerce, after they opposed the same proposal several elections ago.

It was approved by county voters Tuesday, but only by 387 votes.

Guess which parts of Champaign County supplied the margin of victory? Some of the county's most conservative precincts in Mahomet, St. Joseph and Tolono.

Their 11 precincts all OK'd the county-executive form, which will mean one more high-paid elected official, plus a staff, office space and more.

The St. Joseph precincts approved the measure by 232 votes. The Tolono precincts gave it a 238-vote advantage, and Mahomet, home of state Sen. Chapin Rose, who was a major backer of the scheme, was the epicenter of the movement. There, it was approved by 754 votes.

In case there was any doubt, the county executive isn't about government reform. It's about Republicans regaining control of the county board and county government. It begins with the 2018 election — coincidentally an off-year election — and it will come at a cost.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. He can be reached at 217-351-5221 or kacich@news-gazette.com.

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vcponsardin wrote on November 10, 2016 at 9:11 am

Eh... Champaign is not out of step with the rest of the country.  Yup, we voted for Hillary.  But so did the country.  She won the popular vote... by over a million.  Even in this age of Trump, facts are still facts.

uncommon_name wrote on November 10, 2016 at 10:11 am

Your argument is that "facts are facts even in the age of (President-Elect) Trump" and then went on to say that she won the popular vote by over a million votes. I could be wrong but I see her winning the popular vote by 219,762. Your argument about facts kind of collapses on itself if you don't state the facts correctly.