Ward Room's Election Day guide is a special column dedicated to informing voters about candidates in the lead-up to the November 8 general election.
Mark Kirk (R): Incumbent Kirk has served in the Senate since 2010. The senator is a retired Navy reservist who previously served as the congressman for Illinois' 10th Congressional District from 2001 to 2010. The pro-choice gun control advocate is considered to be a social moderate and fiscal conservative.
Tammy Duckworth (D): Duckworth currently serves as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 8th Congressional. She lost both legs co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter over Iraq in 2004 and subsequently served in the Illinois and national VA. She has advocated for gun control and pro-choice causes in Congress.
Kenton McMillen (L) and Scott Summers (G) will also be included on the ballot.
Storyline: Kirk and Duckworth are locked in one of the nation’s tightest Senate races. This year’s Senate elections are specifically important because the majority party will likely be tasked with leading hearings to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.
Illinois’ 8th Congressional District
Raja Krishnamoorthi (D): Krishnamoorthi was appointed a special assistant attorney general in the Public Integrity Unity by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan before leaving the office to serve as Illinois’ deputy treasurer in 2007. He now serves as president of Sivananthan Labs & Episolar Inc., which develops and sells products in the national security and renewable energy fields. Krishnamoorthi has vowed to be an advocate for middle class families if he’s elected to Congress.
Pete DiCianni (R): DiCianni is the former mayor of Elmhurst and a current DuPage County Board member. The Republican looks to bolster the economy and create jobs while securing the country’s borders and supporting American military and law enforcement.
Storyline: Krishnamoorthi and DiCianni are battling it out for the 8th Congressional District House seat that will be vacated by Rep. Tammy Duckworth. The congresswoman has held the seat since 2012 when she beat out Krishnamoorthi in the Democratic primary.
Bob Dold (R): Incumbent Dold was originally elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, replacing fellow Republican Mark Kirk, who was elected to the Senate that same year. Dold, who is considered a moderate Republican, has listed jobs and the economy as his district’s most pressing issues. Dold was defeated by Schneider in 2012, but regained the seat in a 2014 rematch.
Brad Schneider (D): During his time in Congress, Schneider supported the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights and sustainable energy, among other things. This time around, he’s committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform and commonsense gun control legislation.
Storyline: Dold and Schneider are locked in their third Congressional matchup in six years. Dold, who has a substantial fundraising edge, looks to retain the seat for consecutive terms, while Schneider looks to once again knock him off.
Leslie Munger (R): Incumbent Munger was appointed comptroller by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015. Munger, who worked through the state’s year-long budget impasse, has proposed a “no budget, no pay” bill that would require lawmakers to pass a balanced budget in order for state constitutional officers and legislators to receive their salary. She has already delayed lawmakers’ paychecks, putting them in line with other state vendors.
Susana Mendoza (D): Chicago City Clerk Mendoza previously spent ten years in the Illinois House of Representatives. Mendoza has said she’s running for state comptroller because she believes “the middle class is under attack” from Rauner and Munger. She feels Rauner’s main priorities are destroying unions and taking away the social safety net that provides opportunities for Illinois families to lift themselves out of poverty.
Claire Ball (L) and Tim Curtin (G) will also be included on the ballot.
Storyline: The race is being billed as a proxy battle for Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Mike Madigan. Munger has referred to herself as Rauner’s budgetary “wingman,” while Mendoza has called Madigan a mentor. Donation caps for the race were broken in September and millions have been dumped into the race since.
Cook County State’s Attorney
Kim Foxx (D): Foxx beat out incumbent Democrat Anita Alvarez in the March primary while the state’s attorney was still reeling from the Laquan McDonald controversy. Foxx is a Chicago native, raised in the Cabrini-Green housing projects. She served as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney for 12 years before working as chief of staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Christopher Pfannkuche (R): Pfannkuche served as criminal prosecutor for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office for 21 years. He ran unopposed on the Republican ballot.
Storyline: Riding a wave of high-profile endorsements, Foxx is the clear favorite to become Cook County’s next state’s attorney.
Michael McAauliffe (R): Incumbent McAuliffe is the only Republican state representative whose district includes portions of Chicago. He’s represented the district since 1997. According to his campaign, the fiscal conservative is committed to addressing “the area’s most problematic issue,” noise from O’Hare International Airport.
Merry Marwig (D): Newcomer Marwig previously worked with a local company that manufactures tea in Illinois. Like McAuliffe, she looks to reduce airplane noise at O’Hare. She also supports a property tax freeze and wants to hire additional police officers. Additionally, she’s pushing for improvements to local infrastructure to address flooding issues.
Storyline: The race between McAuliffe and Marwig has been dubbed the most expensive statewide race nationwide, with Gov. Rauner backing McAuliffe and Speaker Madigan backing Marwig.