Get your sample ballots ready. It’s voting time.

March 19, 2012

If you know 100 percent who you’re voting for in every primary race from Congress to state legislature to judge, you can stop reading now. You don’t need this. But if you’re like most voters, you probably still have a few questions.

Here’s a look at a few of top the primary races tomorrow in the Chicago area and some resources for voters looking to dig a bit further.


If you’re pulling a Democratic ballot, you’ve got one choice. President Barack Obama (money, website) visited Chicago on Friday for a fundraising trip.

Barack Obama, Mar. 16th in Chicago

Republicans have more pickings. Candidates who remain on the ballot (and have yet to drop out of the race) include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (money, website), former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (money, website), former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (money, website), U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (money, website) and former Louisiana Gov. Charles “Buddy” Roemer (money, website).

Mitt Romney, Mar. 18 in Vernon Hills

Newt Gingrich, Mar. 15 in Barrington

Ron Paul, Mar. 14 in Champaign

Rick Santorum, Mar. 19 in Moline

U.S. House

Illinois has no U.S. Senate contests this year, but all the U.S. House seats are up – and thanks to redistricting, they all look quite a bit different than two years ago. You can see the new boundaries on this map from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Here are the hottest primaries in the greater Chicago area, with links to our main stories on the races:

2ND District Democrats: U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (money, website), faces a challenge from ex-U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson (money, website). See “Jackson v. Halvorson: History, hugs and hometown politicking.”

8TH District Democrats: Tammy Duckworth (money, website) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (money, website) battle for the chance to face GOP U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in the fall. See “Duckworth, Krishnamoorthi debate their differences, or lack thereof.”

10TH District Democrats: Four Democrats – Vivek Bavda (money, website), Brad Schneider (money, website), Ilya Sheyman (money, website) and John Tree (money, website) – are vying for the nomination, with the winner taking on Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Dold in the general election. See “Resumes, partisanship get spotlight as Dems fight over 10th Congressional District.”

16TH District Republicans: An incumbent v. incumbent showdown between the young freshman and the veteran lawmaker, with both U.S. Reps. Donald Manzullo (money, website) and Adam Kinzinger (money, website) hoping to continue in Congress. See “Manzullo, Kinzinger get testy over ads and conservative ratings, disagree on Afghanistan.”

Illinois Legislature

The maps for the state Senate and state House changed a lot with redistricting, so that election board map is a good place to start your research. We took a look at a few of the hot Senate races (see “Veteran Illinois lawmakers try to hang on against primary challengers”), but that’s just a tiny sample. Find out who’s on the ballot in your district here, who they took donations from here and their campaign websites by going here.

Cook County

Cook County voters this year will elect a state’s attorney and a recorder of deeds, but only one Democrat filed to run for each and no Republicans filed for either. That leaves the election of clerk of circuit court. Three-term incumbent Dorothy Brown (money, website) faces a spirited challenge from Chicago Ald. Rick Munoz (money, website). See “Dorothy Brown tries to fend off Rick Munoz in bitter Cook County Clerk of Court race.”


We’ve got an entire spread of resources for voters willing to delve into judicial elections. Check out “Election voting guide: what to do with that long list of judges on your ballot.”

The big one in Cook County this year is the race for the Illinois Supreme Court. Four Democrats – Appellate Judge Joy Cunningham (money, website), attorney Thomas Flannigan (no money filings, website), Appellate Judge Aurelia Pucinski (money, website) and Justice Mary Jane Theis (money, website) – are running for the seat that Theis now holds by temporary appointment. One Republican candidate is in the mix – Judge James Riley. See “Illinois Supreme Court election: Does anybody even know it’s on the ballot?” and “Duking it out for an Illinois Supreme Court seat.”

Sample Ballot

This list above is nowhere near complete. To view a list of all the elections on ballot – and all the candidates – check with your local election authority. This is all the more important because of redistricting; you may not live in the district you think you do.