LIVE: Election Day '18

LIVE: Election Day '18

Listen to WDWS coverage here starting at 6 p.m.

For our LIVE local results, click here.

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Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has conceded to Republican incumbent Rodney Davis in the heated race for the 13th Congressional District of Illinois.

While Davis declared victory late Tuesday night, Londrigan hadn't conceded after the Associated Press called the race shortly after midnight.

"This afternoon, I called Congressman Rodney Davis and congratulated him on his win," Londrigan said in a statement.

With all precincts reporting, Davis has received 135,680 votes, or 50.7 percent, while Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan received 131,958 votes, or 49.3 percent.

With the victory, Davis has been elected to his fourth term in Congress.

— Ben Zigterman
 

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TAYLORVILLE — On a night when Democrats flipped the U.S. House, Republican Congressman Rodney Davis apparently held onto his seat representing the 13th District of Illinois for a fourth term.

With all precincts reporting, Davis has received 135,680 votes, or 50.7 percent, while Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan received 131,958 votes, or 49.3 percent.

The Associated Press called the race for Davis shortly after midnight, along with several other outlets, though Londrigan has not yet conceded.

The race tightened as the night went on, with CNN calling it for the Springfield Democrat at one point but later taking that back and calling it for the Tayloville Republican.

Results from Piatt County weren't reported until after 11 p.m. due to a technical error.

In Taylorville, Davis declared victory a little after 11:30 p.m.

"I don't like these close calls," he said, later adding: "We know that this margin in this victory will stand up."

Earlier, in Springfield, Londrigan told supporters she wasn’t yet ready to concede.

"Let’s hold tight, and we’ll see where this goes," said Londrigan, who got 69 percent of the vote in Champaign County.

— Ben Zigterman

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Four years ago, local voters made Carol Ammons the first African-American from Champaign County to serve in the state legislature.

Tuesday night, it was husband Aaron's turn to make county history.

The Urbana alderman was won the race for Champaign County clerk Tuesday night, becoming the first African-American to hold that office. The Democrat defeated Republican Matt Grandone for a position that's been held by Grandone's boss, Gordy Hulten.

In its final weeks, discussion of the race was as much about a series of controversial radio spots paid for by a 75-year-old Champaign resident as it was about any issue.

Lawrence Williams' anti-Ammons ads, broadcast on News-Gazette Media's WDWS 1300 AM, helped propel Ammons to victory, the winner insisted Tuesday night.

"I do believe that this is a union town and this is a working-class community," Ammons said while attending a Democratic watch party at the Canopy Club in Urbana. "And I think working-class people are going to rally around the person who's standing up for working people, so I think the attack was an attempt to be belittling, but in our community, it may have created momentum."

— Adalberto Toledo

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With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Democrats have swept all Champaign County–wide offices.

— Democrat Darlene Kloeppel won the race for the new position of county executive over current Republican Clerk Gordy Hulten.

— Democrat Aaron Ammons won the race for clerk with 54 percent of the vote over Republican Matt Grandone.

— Democrat Laurel Prussing won the race for treasurer with 54 percent of the vote over incumbent Republican John Farney.

— Democrat George Danos won the race for auditor with 56 percent of the vote over incumbent Republican Diane Michaels.

— And Democrat Dustin Heuerman won the race for sheriff with 55 percent of the vote over Republican Allen Jones.

— Ben Zigterman

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At her election-night party at the I Hotel, Republican Erika Harold said of Illinois Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul, "I wanted him to know we all wish him well."

Asked whether Gov. Rauner's lopsided loss affected her race, Harold said, "Politics is a team sport," but added that "tonight's not the night" to place blame.

She also said it's too early to say whether she'll seek office again.

— Julie Wurth

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Champaign Democrat Michael Frerichs declared victory Tuesday in his race against Republican challenger Jim Dodge for the Illinois state treasurer.

— Ben Zigterman

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Republican Erika Harold has conceded to Democratic State Sen. Kwame Raoul in the race for Illinois attorney general.

Harold said she called Raoul to congratulate him and wished him luck to "take the politics out of the office." 

— Julie Wurth 

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Democrat J.B. Pritzker, a billionaire who campaigned on making wealthy taxpayers pay more in income taxes as part of a plan to move Illinois past the political bitterness of the past four years, was elected governor Tuesday over Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, whose legacy will be his role in a record-long budget standoff with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Rauner conceded the race less than an hour after polls closed Tuesday night, sounding a clarion call of teamwork often missing from his heated tilts with Democrats in Springfield.

“Now we stand not as Republicans or Democrats, we stand as the people of Illinois,” Rauner said. “Now we move forward together to come up with solutions to create a better future. I encourage all of us to put aside partisan politics, rancor and hard feelings. Now is the time to move forward.”

Rauner said he had called Pritzker to concede.

Pritzker, the 53-year-old heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune who largely self-financed his campaign, will take his first elective office when he is inaugurated in January. He led Rauner in polls for months and capitalized not only on Rauner’s lack of popularity but broader dissatisfaction with GOP President Donald Trump.

Rauner, a 61-year-old former private equity investor whose campaign bravado four years ago included the contention that a government shutdown might be in order to get Illinois back on track, was trying to avoid becoming only the fourth Illinois governor since 1900 to win and serve one four-year term before being ousted. Incumbents lost in 1912 and 1972, and a sitting governor was defeated in a 1976 primary.

—The Associated Press

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Early-voting totals (35,138) in Champaign County have been released. That tops the total turnout in the county in the March primary.

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News-Gazette Media's Tom Kacich reports that the polling place at the Illini Union remained open after 7 p.m. to accommodate those still waiting in line.

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About two dozen Erika Harrold supporters are already on hand at her campaign night headquarters at the I Hotel in Champaign, along with local media, at least three Chicago TV stations and a crew from UnaVision (above).

Harold is holed up in a "war room" waiting for returns to come in, according to her father, Bob.

— Julie Wurth

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Champaign County Auditor Diane Michaels is spending the day as she usually does — in the office.

“I’m probably an anomaly with that,” she said. “I felt like I needed to be at work. Everybody else is at work. That’s what you do.”

Of course, today is a particularly nerve-racking day at work for Michaels, who is running to retain her job against Democrat George Danos. She took over the job in January, when former auditor John Farney took over as county treasurer.

Michaels voted this morning at her local polling place in Rantoul before heading into the office.
This election has been different for Michaels, who spent eight years on the county board. This time, name recognition was key.

“People knew who I was within my district,” she said. “This county one, I worked hard. I knocked on doors, made phone calls, went to a lot of different events, talked to people I know and talked to people I didn’t know and tried to make sure I answered questions they had about the department and about myself. I laid it out there as best I could.”

Michaels plans to keep track of the results tonight at parties for County Sheriff candidate Allen Jones and for the County Republican Party.  Jones is a fellow Rantoul resident, so plenty of Michaels’ friends and family will be in attendance. She won’t have her own get together though.

“This is going to be a tight race,” Michaels said, “and I don’t want to assume anything and I’m not somebody that sits and celebrates something one way or another.”

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Democratic County Auditor candidate George Danos has spent the day on campus, interacting with students who appear to be voting, making appearances at the Illini Union and Ikenberry Commons among other locations.

“It feels good on campus,” Danos said. “Of course, campus is favorable to Democrats, so I can’t judge the rest of the county.”

This is Danos’ third time running, and he knows the value of each vote. In 2016, he lost to incumbent John Farney by 36 votes.

When voting ends, Danos will head to Crane Alley in Urbana and then to The Canopy Club on campus, where the Champaign County Democrats are holding a watch party.

“I’m going to be relaxed because I’m being stoic,” Danos said. “I don’t know what to expect, and I know that. It should be fun. This time I’m going to look at all of the races and watch the TV, something I did not do in 2012 and 2016. I had my eyes glued to all of the results coming through the county clerk’s office. It took away all of the fun of an election night, popcorn and TV. I want to have that this time.”

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Two women fill out their ballots at the Leonhard Recreation Center polling place on Tuesday in Champaign. The polls close at 7 p.m.

The longest lines were at the Illini Union on campus, where News-Gazette Media's Tom Kacich reports that Oreos were being handed out to those waiting to vote.

The line stretched from the fourth floor to almost the first with about a 30-minute wait to vote.  A total of 532 voters had cast ballots as of 12:15 p.m.

Students were being advised they also can vote at their home's polling place and didn't have to wait at the Union.

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The headsign on a Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus reminds people to go vote on Election Day as it heads north on South Mattis Avenue on Tuesday  in Champaign. MTD is offering free rides to polling places on Election Day.

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News-Gazette Media’s Tom Kacich, who has covered politics for more than 40 years, checked in this morning from a polling place at Holy Cross Church in Champaign.

— “This is the fourth polling place I’ve checked. I see no problems except maybe at the Illini Union. There’s a line to vote there again. There were maybe 40 or 50 kids in line, and the young man at the front of the line told me he’d been there for 15 minutes ... so that’s not too bad.”

— “I think most people have voted already, based on the early voting numbers that County Clerk Gordy Hulten put out last night. I calculate between 49 and 59 percent of the voters have already cast ballots. So this should be a quiet day except maybe on campus, where students tend to vote in the afternoon.”

— In regards to early voting: “It may be kind of a gloomy thing to talk about, but I know of at least two people who early voted and have died since. That’s one of the things that people think about ... ‘I’m gonna vote now while I can. I don’t know if I’ll be in the hospital. I don’t know if I’ll be out of town. I don’t know if I’ll die.’”

— J.J. Lockwood

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Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten also joined Brian Barnhart on “Penny For Your Thoughts” this morning on WDWS 1400-AM:

— “Everything looks like right now it’s operating very smoothly. We have a little bit of a line right now at the Illini Union, but we have double the number of judges and stations — so the line is moving very quickly.”

“Even though most of campus can vote at other voting locations other than the Illini Union, they are all choosing to go to the Illini Union, because the rest of the campus voting locations are getting very little traffic this morning.”

— In regards to other places that have been particulary busy or slow so far today: “Everybody’s been nice and steady this morning. I ran out to Mahomet this morning to bring them a replacement piece of equipment. They were having good turnout at all of their voting locations. Everything around the county looks like it’s gonna have good, healthy turnout.”

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On Tuesday morning in Champaign, students in Greg Stock's American Government class at Centennial High School took to the streets to encourage passersby to vote.

Photographer Stephen Haas happened upon (above) seniors Fernando Tapia, left, Alex Shilts, center, and Taya Lema  at the intersection of South Mattis Avenue and West John Street in Champaign.

Polls remain open until 7 p.m.

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Depending whom you ask, today is somewhere between "eh" and the single-most important day in the history of the republic.

For some perspective, Editor JEFF D'ALESSIO caught up with 16 former party chairs, cabinet members, as-seen-on-TV strategists and others — Rs, Ds and Rs-turned-Ds alike — and asked:

On a 1-10 scale, how important/impactful will today's midterm be?

10

MICHAEL STEELE

Republican National Committee chairman, 2009-11

"This is a hair-on-fire-get-off-your-butt-and-vote-10. Not so much because of people's passions for or against Trump — even though he wants to make this election about him, most of us don't care — but rather what the election will say about the state of us, as a nation and as individuals. Are we really prepared to settle — to lower our expectations of the nation's leaders for a 'good economy' or a Supreme Court appointment? Voters will tell us Tuesday night."

10+

DONNA BRAZILE

Democratic National Committee chairwoman, 2016-17

"As Americans, we have to demand that our elected officials take steps to battle election interference both foreign and domestic. The best way to do that is to select the best leaders. Yet that is contingent on people being able to vote."

6

KEVIN MADDEN

GOP strategist, CNN analyst

"Almost immediately after the results are tallied, it will become very apparent that our system and its institutions are still just as polarized after Election Day as they were before Election Day."

8 to 10

ANDREA MITCHELL

NBC News chief foreign-affairs correspondent

"The President has in effect made the midterms a referendum on him — and voters are essentially deciding whether they agree with his leadership and policies, or want at least one house to serve as a check on unitary power. The 36 governors races — including tight contests in some big electoral states like Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio — will also influence the fate of the 2020 presidential election."

8

LARRY SUMMERS

U.S. treasury secretary, 1999-2001

"The 2020 presidential election will be a 10. What is at stake is whether the world should assume that Trumpism is the new American normal or an aberration."

3

RICH LOWRY

National Review editor

"If I really thought Republicans were in serious danger of losing the Senate, which would bring all confirmations to a halt, I'd go higher. If Republicans lose control of the House, it will hurt and will mean unrelenting investigations of Trump and the administration, but very little Democrats can pass in the House will make it to President Trump's desk."

9.5

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS

U.S. secretary of health and human services, 2009-14

"It's important to put checks in place for the balance of power that founders designed and is critical to preserve health care gains from the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, protect Medicare and continue to make progress towards universal health care."

8

TOM FRIEDMAN

3-time Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist

"It is very important that the opposition party have a lever of national power to hold the President accountable when his own party will not."

6

RICK SANTORUM

2012 GOP presidential nomination runner-up

"No mid-term is worth more than a 7. Unlike 2016, this one will not chart a new course in Washington, but it will in many statehouses. The ideal outcome for Trump politically is picking up several Senate seats and losing the House. He will get his judges confirmed and be in position to hold the Senate in 2020 when Republicans will likely lose a few seats and he will blame the Dem-controlled House for everything."

7

BILL KRISTOL

Founder, The Weekly Standard

"Only presidential elections can be 8s, 9s and 10s. Tuesday will either vindicate and strengthen Trump, or constrain him and perhaps mark the beginning of the end or at least the end of the beginning for Trump."

9

DAVID FRUM

Speechwriter for former President George W. Bush

"1866 was a 10, so 2018 is a 9."

10

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

ABC News anchor

"Will voters ratify or reject the revolutionary politics of President Trump? That's the big question."

9

MIKE MURPHY

GOP strategist, 'Meet the Press' regular

"The country chose a very different direction and style of politics in 2016 by electing Donald Trump. Now the country must decide at the polls if we want more of the same or a change away from that and back toward more traditional politics and a more historically normal sort of behavior by our President. That is a very important decision, which makes this a vitally important election."

9

ED RENDELL

Pennsylvania governor, 2003-11

"(Tuesday) will determine what type of country we want to be — a country that turns its back on the values that made America a special place or a country that reaffirms all of the good that our nation has stood for as it became a beacon of freedom, liberty and inclusiveness for the entire world."

10

RICK WILSON

GOP political strategist

"This election is a hard 10. It's an existential challenge to authoritarian statism and nationalism."

10

BOB FRANKEN

Syndicated political columnist

"It's the first referendum on Trump, even though he's not on the ballot. It will be a first opportunity, since his election, for the nation to define itself. It's also a test of the Democratic Party: Is it still robust, or dwindling into a minor political organization?"

— Editor JEFF D'ALESSIO

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