Illinois Democratic Party

Democrat Day 2015
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say they're in an "epic" struggle with the state's new Republican governor. The party met in Springfield Thursday for its annual fundraising breakfast and State Fair rally.

The afternoon rally began with a tongue-in-cheek thank-you to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"Why am I here to thank Bruce Rauner?" asked state Rep. Lou Lang, from Skokie. "Look around you — the Democratic Party has never been as energized or as organized as it is right now."

Bruce Rauner
Alex Keefe / WBEZ

The millions of dollars Republican Governor Bruce Rauner poured into his campaign landed him near the top of a national list of last year's biggest campaign contributors to state races.

The Center for Public Integrity gathered data on political giving to state races. It then used that information to crown "sugar daddies of state politics."

Gov. Rauner and his wife, Diana, came in seventh.

wttw Chicago Tonight

 Illinois Republicans are mounting what they say is an unprecedented and costly campaign to purge ineligible people from voter lists and recruit their own election judges before November. 

It's a sign of how close the contest is expected to be for control of President Barack Obama's home state.  
Republicans have allocated $1 million in Cook County alone to examine voter rolls and recruit 5,000 GOP election judges to watch over polling places in Democrat-heavy Chicago. Efforts to go through voter rolls are underway in two counties east of St. Louis.  

Brian Mackey/WUIS

  Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner filed his term limit initiative with election officials today Wednesday. The massive petition drive came with a hefty price tag.

Rauner's term limit group spent eight months collecting more than twice the number of signatures needed to get the question on the November ballot. That means conversations like this one, from primary Election Day, happened nearly 600,000 times:

House Speaker Michael Madigan is elected to a 5th term as Chairman of the Illinois Democratic party and more allegations are being made that patronage plays a factor in hiring decisions at the Illinois Department of Transportation.


Changing political parties may have seemed like an obvious decision for state Rep. Paul Froehlich. In 2006, the Schaumburg lawmaker was a Republican who had led local party groups for years. But he watched his veteran colleague, state Rep. Terry Parke, lose to a Democrat and end his 22-year legislative career.


As Chicago's suburbs grow increasingly hard to label as predominantly Republican because of shifting demographics, some lawmakers have opted to switch parties.

The area is becoming a purple haze, and a challenge to Republican incumbents. While Illinois House Republicans lost only one incumbent in the 2006 elections, the Senate lost five — four from the Chicago suburbs.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

As the seemingly interminable spring legislative session drags on through the dog days of summer and lawmakers begin circulating petitions for re-election, Democratic lawmakers can't be enthusiastic about the record compiled by their leaders.

Despite controlling all the levers of the lawmaking machinery — the governorship and majorities in both the Senate and the House — the dysfunctional Ds set new standards for governing incompetence.

Bethany Jaeger
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The regional and political differences among Senate Democrats were on display in some of the most attention-getting issues this spring.

The 95th Illinois General Assembly began with high expectations for the Senate Democrats, whose majority grew by six members in last fall's elections. But so far they haven't looked like the agenda-setters they were expected to be.

Pat Guinane
WUIS/Illinois Issues

The State Fair has passed by, and with it went the partisan pep rallies that kicked off another campaign season.

Republicans spoke of rebuilding and revitalizing, while Democrats talked unity, a nod to their current stranglehold on state government. They control the Illinois House and Senate, both U.S. Senate seats and the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and comptroller.

That makes for a crowded dais. 

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

  A behavioral ecologist might see an uncanny resemblance to a struggle for alpha male status in a pack of timber wolves. Political scientists and headline writers prefer a titanic clash of egos to determine who’s the No. 1 Democrat in Illinois.

Whatever one’s frame of reference, the failure of the state’s Democratic leadership to produce a budget on time for the coming fiscal year is clearly a source of considerable embarrassment for the party faithful.

How often does Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan chuck his suit, tie and precise lawyerly prose, don a loud, canary-yellow polo shirt, and get plain lippy? Not often, which is why a $3 ticket to the Illinois State Fair during one sultry day last August was such a bargain.