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Dems sweep Illinois. Now they have to govern. – Crain's Chicago Business

Dems sweep Illinois. Now they have to govern. – Crain's Chicago Business

Illinois Republicans had a bad night, as their governor joined the rest of the statewide ticket, the Illinois' GOP chairman and at least two of their five Congress members in the defeat. And after the Democrats stop popping champagne corks, they're going to figure out how to run a state with huge economic and fiscal problems.

That was the election story here as Illinois Democrats, led by wealthy Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker, just about everything and a constitutional veto-proof majority of the Illinois Senate and maybe picked up one in the state House, too.

Pritzker's margin in the race for GOP incumbent Bruce Rauner was extraordinarily large for a state that, until recently, was considered swing territory controlled by no party. With about 97 percent of the vote counted, Pritzker led by a whopping 15 percentage points, 54 percent to 39 percent.

The margin did not help GOP nominee Erika Harold in her effort to defeat Democrat Kwame Raoul for the Illinois attorney general lock being vacated by long-time incumbent Lisa Madigan. Harold topped Rauner's vote count by about 170,000, but she trailed Raoul by almost 450,000.

Ecstatic Democrats could barely contain their glee.

"Voters across Illinois rejected the politics of negativity," and declared Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Chairman Mike Madigan. "Our Democratic Party is committed to answering this call and protecting the values ​​under which voters put a record number of Democrats into office tonight."

Said Pritzker: "We will fight for every person who helps make this diverse, resilient, incredible state."

But the governor-elect may have to follow his own advice and be resilient if he's to succeed.

Among his challenges: He may have a little bit of fun with Madigan, who may well give Pritzker some grievance when he tries to move forward on his signature campaign issue and enact a graduated income tax.

Also confronting Pritzker: How to deal with the state's yawning pension hole-more than $ 130 billion in unfunded liabilities, by the latest estimate; how to pay for a needed infrastructure program and how to progressive lawmakers eager to do things like enacting a higher minimum wage and authorizing local rent-control laws.

Meanwhile, Republicans have to start almost from scratch.

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