Once a reliable stronghold for Democrats, Macoupin County leaned to the right in Tuesday’s general election. Just under 57 percent of the county’s 32,151 registered voters cast ballots, including many who took advantage of early voting and vote-by-mail opportunities. That’s nearly identical to voter turnout in 2014, the last midterm election when Macoupin voters favored Republican challenger Bruce Rauner over Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn by a margin of 33 percent to 59 percent. In 2016, driven largely by enthusiasm for then-candidate Donald Trump, the county’s turnout of voters was near 72 percent.
On Tuesday night, Rauner conceded to Democrat J.B Pritzker and running mate Julianna Stratton within an hour of polls closing at 7 p.m. With 9,219 of the state’s 10,114 precincts reporting late Tuesday night, Pritzker easily defeated Rauner, taking 54 percent of the vote to Rauner’s 39 percent. Sam McCann, Plainview, who mounted a gubernatorial challenge under a Conservative Party banner, garnered 4.4 percent of the vote, falling just shy of the five percent threshold required for his party to be recognized as an official new party going forward.
Macoupin voters, however, bucked the statewide trend, casing 7,819 (43.42 percent) votes for Rauner and 6,414 votes (35.62 percent) for Pritzker. McCann took 3,456 votes (19.19 percent) in the county. Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson gathered 294 votes, less than two percent of the total vote, in Macoupin County.
OTHER CONTESTED RACES
Incumbent Democrat Senator Andy Manar, Bunker Hill, took 8,935 votes (about 57 percent) of votes cast in Macoupin County, compared with Republican challenger Seth McMillan’s 6,750 votes (43 percent). District-wide, 41,789 voters in the 48th State Senate District favored Manar with 41,789 votes (57 percent) compared with 31,922 votes (43 percent) cast for McMillan.
In the 95th Illinois House District, incumbent Republican Avery Bourne won with 24,479 votes (60 percent) to challenger Democrat Dillon Clark’s 16,400 votes (40 percent). Macoupin County balloting in the House race mirrored results district-wide. Bourne garnered 9,108 votes ( 59 percent) in Macoupin County, compared with 6,440 votes (41 percent) cast for Clark.
With 98 percent of precincts in the 13th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Rodney Davis clung to a narrow lead of less than one percent over Democrat challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. In 2016, Davis carried the district by a margin of more than 20 points. While the race remained too close to call district-wide, the margin was much wider among Macoupin County voters. A total of 10,894 (61 percent) Macoupin voters cast ballots for Davis, compared with 6,976 votes (39 percent) for Londrigan.
With the exception of incumbent Democrat Jesse White for Secretary of State, Macoupin voters favored Republican candidates for statewide constitutional offices even though statewide voters gave Democrats a clean sweep to victory.
For Attorney General, Macoupin voters favored Republican Erika Harold with 10,691 votes (61 percent) to Democrat Kwame Raoul’s 6,327 votes (36 percent). Raoul reaped heavy support in Cook County and collar counties, giving him a 54 percent to 43 percent margin statewide. Raoul will step into the office being vacated by Democrat Lisa Madigan, who chose not to seek re-election.
Macoupin County voters cast 9,751 ballots (54 percent) for popular incumbent Democrat Secretary of State Jesse White. Republican challenger Jason Helland grabbed 7,754 votes (43 percent) in Macoupin County. Statewide, with 9,806 of 10,114 precincts reporting, White easily cruised to re-election with 68 percent, compared with Helland’s 30 percent.
Incumbent Democrat Michael Frerichs was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote statewide, compared with 39 percent for Republican challenger Jim Dodge. Again, results in Macoupin County were virtually the reverse of statewide balloting with Dodge collecting 9,667 votes (55 percent) to Frerich’s 7,302 votes (41 percent).
At the county level, Republican challengers Darlene Senger took 9,410 votes (53 percent) compared to incumbent Democrat Susanna Mendoza’s 7,674 votes ( 43 percent) for State Comptroller. Those totals contrast with statewide totals that showed Mendoza handily winning re-election with 59 percent to Senger’s 38 percent.
MACOUPIN COUNTY BOARD
The composition of the Macoupin County Board will remain largely unchanged as a result of Tuesday’s balloting.
In District 1, incumbent Democrats Roberta “Sissy” Vojas and Michael Tranter retained their seats against Republican challenger Christopher Cozad. Vojas and Tranter took 1,104 votes (36 percent) and 981 votes (32 percent) over Cozad’s 943 votes (31 percent)
Republicans Frank S. Long and Kristi Dunnagan were elected in District 3, defeating two Democrat challengers. Long was the top vote-getter with 1,104 (33 percent). Dunnagan garnered 955 votes (29 percent), with Democrats Ruth (McGuire) White and Stephen Reed gathered 613 votes (18.5 percent) and 629 votes (19 percent), respectively.
Incumbent Democrats Mark Dragovich, currently serving as County Board Chair, and David P. Thomas, narrowly fended off a challenge from Republican Christopher Hicks. With 1,268 votes, Dragovich held onto 46 percent of the vote. Thomas garnered 754 votes (27.3 percent), compared to 742 votes (26.8 percent) awarded to Hicks.
Cathy Petrak, a Democrat appointed to fill a vacancy on the County Board, lost her bid to be elected to the seat to Republican challenger Larry Schmidt. Schmidt gathered 1,068 votes (55 percent) to fill a two-year unexpired term, compared to Petrak’s 882 votes (45 percent).
In District 6, Republican Bill Harding and Democrat Robert Quarton won re-election without opposition. Harding took 1,462 votes (62 percent) and Quarton earned 919 votes (38 percent).
Incumbent Republican Harry Starr IV and incumbent Democrat Robert “Tony” Wiggins won re-election without opposition in District 8. Starr won 1,141 votes (53 percent) while Wiggins gathered 992 votes (47 percent).
Incumbent Republicans Todd Armour and Very Reiher were re-elected in District 9 without competition. Armour gathered 1,621 votes (62 percent) while Reiher gathered 987 votes (38 percent) in the district.
While balloting in Macoupin County showed a decided tilt toward Republican candidates, Democrats retained control of the courthouse. Incumbent Democrats were re-elected without opposition in constitutional offices held by Democrats since 1968. County Clerk Pete Duncan was re-elected with 14,615 votes. Incumbent Treasurer Anne Boehm was re-elected with 14,479 votes. Incumbent Sheriff Shawn Kahl was re-elected with 14,861 ballots. Michelle Mueller was re-elected as Regional Superintendent of Schools with 13,680 votes.
Running without opposition, Thomas Harris, Jr., a Republican, took 14,057 votes for a judicial vacancy on the Fourth Appellate District Court. Republican Pete Cavanaugh took 14,165 Macoupin County votes in his unopposed bid to be elected to a second judicial vacancy on the Fourth Appellate District Court.
Circuit Judge Kenneth Deihl garnered 12,668 “yes” votes in Macoupin County to 3,345 “no” votes to retain his position on the bench. A total of $11,551 Macoupin voters voted to retain Judge Eric Pistorius, compared to 3,624 “no” votes, and Judge John Bell collected 11,545 votes for retention in Macoupin County, compared with 3,751 “no” votes.
A total of 17,706 of the 18,324 voters who cast ballots in Macoupin County chose to voice their opinion on a closely watched non-binding referendum on whether or not the state’s General Assembly should have the authority to approve further restrictions on the purchase and ownership of firearms. Seventy percent (12,395 votes) said “no” while 30 percent (5,311) voted “yes.”