Early voting has already begun for the Illinois General Primary, but the actual date of the election is March 18. Both Republicans and Democrats are racing to fill several public office positions across the state. Here are five races to pay close attention to this year at the polls.
The Race: Illinois Governor
Here's why: Four GOP candidates will square off in the primaries to run against Gov. Pat Quinn in November. Wealthy businessman Bruce Rauner leads the race in campaign finance and endorses ultra-conservative views. The other candidates -- Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford -- have fewer dollars to spend but are seasoned politicians whose experience poses a big threat to Rauner.
The Race: U.S. Senate
Here's why: Long-time Senator and Majority Whip Dick Durbin faces two GOP challengers who want to take his spot. Campaign veteran Jim Oberweis and military veteran Doug Truax would face a tough race against Durbin, but if the nominee is successful, he will unseat a powerful Illinois politician.
The Race: 10th Legislative District
Here's why: Democratic incumbent Rep. Derrick Smith is running for re-election after being expelled from the Illinois House of Representatives in 2012 and then re-elected later that year. His expulsion was due to an indictment for taking a $7,000 bribe from a day care center. His four challengers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but all are attempting to kick Rep. Smith out for good.
The Race: 39th House District
Here's why: The incumbent, Toni Berrios, comes from a well-oiled Illinois political machine of a family. Her father is currently the Cook County assessor. Berrios has represented her district since 2003, but she is being challenged this year by a 26-year-old from North Carolina. Will Guzzardi was a former Huffington Post editor and is a current Logan Square resident. After giving Berrios a serious run for her money in the last election, Guzzardi is hoping to clinch it this time and take out a piece of the political machine.
The Race: 14th Congressional District
Here's why: In the traditionally conservative district that spans from Aurora and Elgin almost to the Iowa border, Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren will face either Dennis Anderson or John Hosta, two Democrats with some conservative leanings, in November. The more liberal Anderson is running for the second time against Hultgren.