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Voters set to head to polls for heated Illinois gubernatorial, congressional primaries

Voters set to head to polls for heated Illinois gubernatorial, congressional primaries
Voters set to head to polls for heated Illinois gubernatorial, congressional primaries 03:21

DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) -- Beginning at 6 a.m. Tuesday, voters from across the State of Illinois will head to the polls for primary races ahead of the midterm elections.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported Monday night, the race for governor is one of the most talked-about races. The candidates started running ads months ago. But it is also just one of many hot races.

A contentious race is also under way in the 6th Congressional District, most recently redrawn as a west and southwest suburban district stretching from Downers Grove to Orland Park.

Rep. Sean Casten (D-Illinois), of Downers Grove, was elected to the seat in 2018 – defeating Republican incumbent Peter Roskam to become the first Democrat to lead the district in nearly half a century. He is running against another sitting member of Congress, Rep. Marie Newman, whose 3rd Congressional District was remapped and radically altered during the most recent redistricting. Newman defeated incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski and went on to be elected to Congress from the 3rd District in 2020.

Charles Hughes is also competing in the 6th District Democratic primary.

"I think for the most part, people probably don't pay a lot of attention to the redistricting," said political analyst Stephen Caliendo of North central College. "It happens every 10 years."

Meanwhile, the redrawn 3rd District of which Newman was forced out now has a Latino majority – and four candidates in the Democratic primary.

Those candidates are registered nurse and cannabis dispensary owner Juan Aguirre; community leader, artist, businessman, and college professor Iymen Chehade; Illinois state Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago); and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th).

The district stretches from Chicago's Northwest and West sides through Bensenville, Elk Grove Village, and Addison west to West Chicago and Bartlett.

Meanwhile, the 1st Congressional District primary has a wide-open field. The district stretches along the city's South Side and proceeds southwest through Will County all the way to Braidwood and Bourbonnais.

A total of 17 candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for the 1st District – which has no incumbent for the first time in 30 years with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois) retiring. Caliendo emphasized that in the 1st District, the winner of the Democratic primary is also virtually sure to win the general election too.

"Whoever wins in Bobby Rush's district, for instance, in the Democratic primary tomorrow – that's going to be the member of Congress from the 1st District," Caliendo said.

In January, Rush endorsed Karin Norington-Reaves to succeed him.

Norington-Reaves is up against teacher Kirby Birgans; Pastor Chris Butler; community activist and My Block, My Hood, My City founder Jahmal Cole; Illinois state Sen. And onetime CBS 2 editor Jacqueline Collins; entrepreneur and banking professional Steven DeJoie; against Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd); attorney and professor Cassandra Goodrum; Jonathan Jackson, a son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson; educator, negotiator, and activist Terre Layng Rosner; minister Marcus Lewis; violence intervention expert Dr. Ameena Matthews; real estate broker Robert Palmer; realtor Nykea Pippion McGriff; Black Bench founder and former Chicago Board of Elections commissioner Jonathan Swain; workforce development manager Michael Thompson; and former Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority deputy director and chief of staff Charise Williams.

"These are really important races, and you know, from a political scientist's perspective, it's a shame that such few people are going to turn out," Caliendo said.

Returning to the gubernatorial primaries, Republican Richard Irvin is hoping more people show up to the polls. The Aurora mayor spent his final day campaigning in Cary.

Despite billionaire Ken Griffin spending $50 million for Irvin's campaign, it is not clear whether Republicans believe he is one of them. Terry talked with Irvin about that concern.

Terry: "What do you say to those final undecided voters who say, 'I'm not still certain if Richard Irvin is a true Republican?'"

Irvin: "I've been a Republican my whole political career. The first office I've ever held was as a Republican committeeman - well before my opponents even got into the political arena. In Illinois, you need Republican votes, you need independent votes, and you need Democratic crossover."

Yet Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, at a campaign stop in Des Plaines Monday, was riding high off former President Donald Trump's endorsement.

He told the crowd Illinois is ready for a conservative back in Springfield.

"Where's Illinois gone in 40 years? Friends, we're a mess, and it's time to fix it – and that means someone with a backbone who'll stand up and push back," Bailey told the crowd. "Governor Pritzker has no desire of doing anything good for Illinois."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jesse Sullivan also did some last-minute campaigning in Lombard Monday night. He will greet voters at a Metra station in Arlington Heights Tuesday morning.

The winner of that primary is expected to take on Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker in the general election.

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