Most of the action in Tuesday’s primary election was on the Democrats’ side.
Did Tuesday’s vote in Illinois, Arizona and Florida finish off Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign for his party’s nomination?
Maybe. Sanders lost all three states to rejuvenated former Vice President Joe Biden, who continued his winning ways that began in South Carolina just before Super Tuesday. Sanders, according to news reports, is re-assessing his candidacy in light of a stinging series of defeats.
Whether he remains in or out, however, it seems clear that the Biden campaign has a stranglehold hold on his party’s nomination. Even if Sanders remains a player, the only question would be to what extent he’s able to wring concessions that move Biden farther left on the policy front.
That’s one conclusion to draw from Tuesday’s primary election in Illinois, where turnout was affected by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
To what extent that affected the outcome of numerous races is impossible to determine.
But there were other results that were significant, both locally and in Cook County.
For starters, the Champaign County Board took another big step to the left when four challengers backed by the Young Democrats ousted four incumbents, including board Chairman Giraldo Rosales.
The Young Democrats were motivated by both political and policy reasons.
They targeted Rosales for defeat in part because he was elected to his chairman post by a coalition of Republicans as well as Democrats who are less liberal than their Young Democrat counterparts. Rosales was the latest in a string of board chairmen who were elected by such a coalition.
Now that the less liberal Democrats have been ousted, the new, progressive majority is free to work its policy will on the people of Champaign County — but only to the extent that county Executive Darlene Kloeppel allows it to happen.
Will there be fireworks? It’s hard to say, but the board, whose new members say they seek to wipe out poverty in the county, will be heard from. Their goal, however, may be difficult to achieve given the board’s limited jurisdiction, another issue that could become a point of contention.
There was similar fallout in Cook County, where election outcomes ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The Democratic organization proved it still has the muscle to take care of those anointed by party leadership, although not as much as it once had.
For starters, Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville, who was appointed to fill the vacancy created by retiring Justice Charles Freeman, won the Democratic nomination. That’s tantamount to victory because Republicans are not competing for the court seat in the fall election.
Neville campaigned as the diversity candidate. But there were three other diversity candidates — a black woman, a black man and a Hispanic male. Neville barely nosed out his Hispanic rival.
At the same time, incumbent Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who disgraced her office through its incompetent handling of the Jussie Smollett case, survived, thanks to the party’s endorsement.
But another party choice, longtime U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, was defeated by leftist challenger Marie Newman. Lipinski’s loss advances the goal of party faithful to banish anyone who opposes abortion or supports restrictions on abortion from its ranks.
Lipinski is one of the few Democratic public officials who opposes abortion, a stance that infuriated abortion-rights supporters and set the stage for his defeat. One significant aspect of that is it represents a setback for Democratic House Speaker and state party Chairman Michael Madigan, who backed Lipinski.
Madigan also suffered another setback when the candidate he backed for Cook County clerk lost to state Sen. Iris Martinez.
Martinez has been waging a political war on Madigan, and her victory reflects another chink in Madigan’s political armor that is probably related to ethical questions about his leadership.
At the same time, her win demonstrates the growing political power of Hispanic voters in Cook County. If that was not enough of a setback for power brokers, it appears that indicted Alderman Ed Burke lost his bid for re-election as 14th ward committeeman to another Hispanic, state Rep. Aaron Ortiz.