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The Election File: How the Democrats plan to pick their lieutenant governor nominee

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At 11 o’clock Saturday morning, the 38 members of the Democratic State Central Committee are scheduled to meet at the Inn at 835 in Springfield in the Conservatory Room. Party spokesman Steve Brown expects the finalists for the nomination for lieutenant governor to have roughly three minutes each to make a final statement to the committee. There could be some debate (“This is a group that likes to talk," Brown says) and then voting, which could possibly last multiple rounds. According to the party’s website, the meeting is “open to the public and all are welcome to attend." So it’ll be those 19 committeemen and 19 committeewomen who get the official say about who the nominee will be. But all committee people are not created equal. Illinois’ election code reads: “In the organization and proceedings of the State central committee, each State central committeeman and State central committeewoman shall have one vote for each ballot voted in his or her congressional district by the primary electors of his or her party at the primary election immediately preceding the meeting of the State central committee."

That means that committeemen and women from congressional districts that are rich in Democratic votes will have a far bigger say than those from heavily Republican areas. Here’s the breakdown, using numbers the Illinois State Board of Election provides to the parties (and to reporters who ask for them):

Congressional District Weighted vote for each member Percentage of total vote for each member Committeeman Committeewoman
1 93151 4.85 Bobby L. Rush Constance A. Howard
2 91586 4.77 Jesse Jackson, Jr. Carrie M. Austin
7 86331 4.50 Danny K. Davis Karen Yarbrough
3 79826 4.16 Michael J. Madigan Helen Ozmina Barc
9 74445 3.88 William Marovitz Carol Ronen
5 69660 3.63 Jim DeLeo Cynthia M. Santos
10 54912 2.86 Daniel M. Pierce Lauren Beth Gash
12 53716 2.80 Jerry Costello Barb Brown
4 41645 2.17 Ricardo Munoz Iris Y. Martinez
13 40321 2.10 Kyle R. Hastings Julia Kennedy Beckman
17 39867 2.08 Don Johnston Mary Boland
19 39833 2.08 Jay Hoffman Jayne Mazzotti
11 33115 1.73 Pat Welch Debbie Halvorson
18 29621 1.54 James K. Polk Shirley McCombs
6 29109 1.52 Robert Wagner Christine Cegelis
8 27890 1.45 Steven M. Powell Nancy Shepherdson
14 27733 1.45 Mark Guethle Jennifer Downard-Laesch
15 25065 1.31 Terry Redman Lynn Foster
16 21695 1.13 John Nelson Linda McNeely

To win, House Speaker and Democratic Party Chair Mike Madigan told reporters last weekend, a candidate will need fifty percent of the weighted vote, plus one. Note that if a candidate for lieutenant governor wins the support of both the committeeman and committeewoman from the six congressional districts at the top, that candidate will have enough to win. Also note that those six all include parts of Chicago. Mike Boland abandoned his quest to be the nominee on Wednesday, throwing his support to fellow state Representative Art Turner. Boland told me he’d lined up support from only one committee member: his wife, Mary Boland, from the 17th Congressional District. Her weighted vote isn’t one of the smallest, but it’s far from the top, and worth less than half the weighted vote of each of the members from the First, Second, Third and Seventh Congressional Districts.

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