While a lot of focus is on 2020, there are still federal, state and municipal elections we here at DDHQ are covering this year. A trio of important contests are decided next week: the Chicago Mayoral runoff, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, and Pennsylvania’s Special State Senatorial election in District 37. Here’s the latest in each contest.
Chicago Mayoral Election (runoff)
After an expensive, crowded primary on February 26th, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle advanced to next Tuesday’s runoff. A new poll out today by WTTW/Crain’s Temkin/Harris finds Lightfoot with a commanding 53%-17% lead over Preckwinkle. Per WTTW, Lightfoot leads with every surveyed group, particularly whites with college degrees (62%-11%). Preckwinkle performs slightly better among African Americans (losing them by only 21%-41% with a significant number of undecideds). Preckwinkle has outraised Lightfoot $6.4 million to $4.5 million over the long course of the campaign, but Lightfoot vastly out-raised her last week ($1.5 million to $300,000) and Preckwinkle canceled her TV ad buys last Wednesday.
Notable recent endorsements:
Lori Lightfoot- Chicago Tribune, Comptroller and former candidate Susana Mendoza
Toni Preckwinkle- Chance the Rapper, Congressman Danny Davis
Wisconsin State Supreme Court
As outlined in a previous blog post here, the state supreme court election this year is as critical for ideologues in the state as next year’s- liberal justice Shirley Abrahamson is retiring from a court currently with a 4-3 conservative balance, and a Scott Walker appointee and conservative justice, Daniel Kelly, will be facing voters during the Democratic Presidential primary next year.
A liberal hold next week (Lisa Neubauer winning), due to the following cycle’s timing, almost guarantees a liberal takeover a year from now, while a conservative victory (Brian Hagedorn winning) would insure against a loss of control in 2020.
Fundraising has been brisk for both candidates, and Neubauer will finish with a cash-on-hand advantage of $615,435 to Hagedorn’s $375.987. The two have raised a combined $3 million since the campaign started, $1.7 million by Neubauer (including a quarter million dollar personal loan) and $1.3 million by Hagedorn.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is also spending $120,000 on behalf of Neubauer, piling onto over a million spent by outside progressive and Democratic groups for her. Hagedorn picked up the endorsement of the NRA last week and has received outside support from Americans for Prosperity to the tune of $87,381.
When you combine direct campaign spending and outside efforts, Neubauer has enjoyed a better than two-to-one edge.
Pennsylvania State Senate District 37- Special Election
Our own Jeff Ditzler has written at length about the strategic importance of this special election to both political parties. The district itself has flipped parties several times in recent years, but most recently was held by Republican Guy Reschenthaler. The two candidates, Democrat Pam Iovino and Republican D. Raja met last week for their only debate, sparring on everything from marijuana to a proposed tax on the Marcellus Shale. The sole major endorsement post debate, and one not particularly surprising, came today, when the American Federation of Government Employees endorsed Iovino.