Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Opinion: Winning Cook County Won't Win You The Governorship

View Comments (
Opinion: Winning Cook County Won't Win You The Governorship

Getty Images / Marty Melville

If carrying Cook County were enough to win a Democratic primary in Illinois, then Roland Burris and Paul Vallas would have been governor.

State Rep. Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg, who co-wrote the state’s conceal carry law, is accusing Gov. Pat Quinn of “politically pandering” to Cook County by adding amendments to ban firearms in taverns and limit gun owners to carrying one weapon.

Phelps not only plans to override the governor’s changes, he’s talking about the possibility of a Downstate candidate jumping into the primary to challenge Quinn and former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley. Quinn and Daley, both Chicagoans, are competing for the gun control vote in Cook County. Daley has the endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Neither spends much time Downstate. The third likely candidate, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, was the defendant in the case that led to the conceal carry ban’s invalidation by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Right now, (Downstate Democrats) see the choices and it's two Chicago guys," Phelps told the Tribune. "I think there might be some other people who will get into this race."

Even though Cook County casts nearly 60 percent of the votes in Democratic primaries, in two of the last three contested governor’s races, the candidate who won Cook County lost. In 1998, Rep. Glenn Poshard finished third in Cook County, but won the nomination by running up margins of over 90 percent in Southern Illinois counties. In 2002, Rod Blagojevich finished behind Paul Vallas and Roland Burris in Cook County, but won the nomination.

Here are the results:


Cook County vote: 551,519

Total vote: 950,307

Cook County Results

Roland Burris 234,222

John Schmidt 160,418

Glenn Poshard 114,227

Jim Burns 37,489


Cook County vote: 747,410

Total vote:  1,252,516

Cook County Results

Paul Vallas 268,514

Roland Burris 265,868

Rod Blagojevich 213,028



Cook County vote: 570,675

Total vote: 920,812

Pat Quinn 304,254

Dan Hynes 264,175

Phelps is telling Quinn and Daley not to ignore Downstate, particularly rural sentiment on guns. Based on these results, they should listen.

Related Topics Pat Quinn, Lisa Madigan, Bill Daley
Leave Comments