Tide turning in Illinois politics, think tank exec says
The April 4 elections revealed what some across Illinois have seen coming for awhile: The Democratic grip on the state is starting to loosen, a think tank executive said on a radio broadcast.
"I think the point of this is — especially in these low turnout elections — is that the water is simmering," Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman said on the Chicago-based conservative radio talk show "Illinois Rising." "And all it takes is for someone to put a little more heat under there and turn it to a full boil, which you and many others did. There are people in Illinois politics who don't seem to understand that, all over from top to bottom. I think we need to turn up the heat."
Tillman told host Dan Proft that the opinions he expressed on the show were his own and not those of the institute. He also made it clear his opinions were about the re-emergence of Republican politics in Illinois.
"I'm definitely referring to the Republican side," he said.
Proft, in addition to hosting Illinois Rising, is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Consolidated elections on April 4 featured hundreds of municipal races in greater Chicago and the Chicago area, including mayoral, village president, school board and referendum races. Voter turnout was low, as had been expected: less than 25 percent in what Bob Hadley, a DeKalb 14th Precinct election judge, described as "somewhere between a stream and a trickle all day," according to a Daily Chronicle report.
Tillman referred in particular to the win by Orland Park businessman Keith Pekau over longtime Mayor Dan McLaughlin, which effectively saved village taxpayers more than $1.2 million. McLaughlin received a 375 percent raise from village trustees in October, which would have taken effect had he been re-elected and would have increased his pension benefits to that amount as well.
Tillman also said liberal complaints about how conservative politicians are being funded are disingenuous.
"They're objecting to competition," Tillman said. "They're objecting to people waking up and paying attention."
Democrats have not had to worry about any conservative opposition for more than a quarter of a century in Illinois, Tillman said.
"So all their money, all their assets, you wonder why Will County goes the way it went," he said. "You wonder what's happening in Lake County. You wonder why DuPage went from being the bastion to having Democrats where it should be Republicans. Is it that these places changed, that some became more Democrat? No, it's Republicans have abandoned the field -- one of your favorite phrases -- and they've been doing it for years. What they're objecting to is that people are actually saying, 'You know what? We're going to get back in the game and participate'. And they don't like that competition."