Peter Shaw, Shaw Media trustee, corporate strategy coordinator
I can’t say that any of the races we voted on Tuesday really surprised me. I thought there was a chance that the gubernatorial race would have been closer, but it has been pretty clear for a while now that J.B. Pritzker would win. In a much smaller race, having the Polo “at large” vote come down to 1 percentage point (or less), shows the vital importance each and every vote makes, especially in local matters – looking at you spring elections.
Out of state, I am a little surprised that Ted Cruz (or is that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts?) was able to hold off Beto O’Rourke in Texas. However, the most stunning upset in a race we did not vote in was at St. Mary Elementary School in Dixon. My son, Finnegan, voted for the presumed favorite, “dogs”. Out of nowhere, “horses” galloped their way to a major upset. Horses over dogs? I vote neigh! (Don’t @ me, horse people).
Pam Eggemeier, SVM editorial page editor
Locally, everything happened pretty much as expected. I found some of the margins of victory a little tighter than projected in a few of the legislative races, but it shouldn't have been too nerve-racking for the incumbents.
Going into Tuesday, I probably could have flipped a coin on the Morrison police levy referendum. While the city and its police chief made a compelling argument for the increase, a lot had already been asked of Morrison residents between water and sewer rate hikes for the new sewer plant and local option sales tax increases that had been approved for city infrastructure and the schools.
There were a few surprises on the state and national levels. Suburban voters came out strong nationwide in support of the Democrats. If you put any faith in the polls, J.B. Pritzker's easy win wasn't shocking. I had my eye on two House districts where longtime suburban GOP lawmakers were in danger, and both were unseated. Democrat Lauren Underwood defeated Randy Hultgren to become the first woman and first African-American to represent the 14th District. In the 6th District, six-term GOP Rep. Peter Roskam was defeated by Sean Casten.
If Hultgren's name sounds familiar, it should. When Hultgren started in the 14th District, it included Lee and Whiteside counties. The district, however, was redrawn after the 2010 census and now covers parts of Lake, McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, DuPage and Will counties.
Jim Dunn, BCR editor and general manager
One thing that surprised me was the quickness of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s concession announcement. I was in the car bringing pizza back for the newsroom (it wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet) when Rauner came on the radio to concede to J.B. Pritzker. But when you end up losing by double digits, maybe it’s better to get that unpleasant chore over with.
Speaking of governors, I was surprised that Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds, won. We watch Quad Cities TV at home, and I’d seen so many campaign ads putting her down and touting the good qualities of her Democratic opponent, Fred Hubbell, that I thought it was curtains for Reynolds. However, she pulled out a 3-percentage-point win.
I was also surprised by the margin of victory for the Bureau County jail referendum. After it lost by 6 votes in March, a revised proposition for a public safety sales tax won big, 56 percent to 44 percent.
But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Lee County’s jail referendum, after all, lost by 24 percentage points in March 2016. After Sheriff John Simonton and the county board revised and improved the plan, and redoubled their efforts to educate voters, it won by 28 percentage points in April 2017.
It just goes to show, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.