It’s old news that Hillary Clinton won Illinois on her strength in urban and suburban areas, but a new postelection report indicates her showing in Cook County’s suburbs was even stronger than it was for President Barack Obama in each of his winning elections.
“Clinton received the highest number of votes — 699,003 — by a presidential candidate in modern suburban Cook County history,” Clerk David Orr states in an election report he’s releasing Friday. “She surpassed Barack Obama’s 2008 record by 845 votes.”
President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, wasn’t so well-liked among the electorate in Cook’s suburbs, where Clinton grew up in Park Ridge. “Donald Trump received the lowest number of votes — 317,970 — by a Republican or Democratic presidential candidate in modern suburban Cook County history,” Orr states in the report’s opening letter.
The vote totals for Clinton may have been helped by the fact that the number of voters registered — more than 1.5 million — was higher than it was in both 2008 and 2012 when Obama, a former U.S. senator from Chicago, was at the top of the ticket. The 72 percent turnout rate this year, the report says, was "about average."
A quick look at Chicago election results shows that Clinton beat Obama’s 2012 vote total in the city, but not his 2008 tally. That comparison also held true in each year for the entire state of Illinois.
Another interesting fact from Orr’s report: More than 4 in 10 voters cast ballots before Election Day through early voting, mail-in voting or grace-period voting. (Hal Dardick)
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From the notebook
*And then there were 10: A day after he cast one of the few votes against a new fund for Chicago immigrants facing possible deportation, Ald. Nicholas Sposato confirmed he is parting ways with the City Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus, which backed the plan.
The group of what’s now 10 aldermen is often at odds with Mayor Rahm Emanuel but backed his plan for a $1.3 million immigrant legal fund. Sposato said his reasons for the split are twofold: His multiple sclerosis, which has him getting around in a wheelchair these days, has left him with less energy, and his conservative views on some issues have sometimes placed him at odds with the group like it did Wednesday.
“It’s nothing personal, I’m just too overwhelmed,” said Sposato, confirming a Daily Line report that he’s departing the caucus. He says he can’t make all of the group’s meetings or respond to all of their frequent emails.
Sposato also noted that he’s differed with Progressive Caucus members on a couple of issues, including his vote Wednesday to oppose the new fund for immigrants. He also split with caucus members when he supported the so-called Blue Lives Matter ordinance, which calls for making hate crimes of offenses committed against police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
Sposato said that when the Progressive Caucus issues a statement saying it’s for something, like the additional $1.3 million immigrant assistance allocation, people mistakenly conclude he’s on board. At the same time, he added, caucus members are “still my best friends on the council” and he would be with them on certain issues, particularly pro-union efforts.
Sposato, who was a city firefighter before defeating an endorsed Democrat to win his first council election in 2011, hails from a Northwest Side ward that includes many current and retired city workers. Although the ward has a strong Democratic majority, it leans a little more to the right than most. In November, more than a third of the ward’s voters cast ballots for Republican President-elect Donald Trump.
In the wake of Sposato’s departure, Progressive Caucus Chairman Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, made it clear there were no hard feelings and said his group — which now includes a fifth of the council’s 50 members among its ranks — still would continue to forcefully push its agenda.
"We appreciate all the hard work Ald. Sposato has put in over the years, and we know he’ll still be alongside us on a range of issues in standing up for Chicago’s working people,” Waguespack said. “The Progressive Caucus will continue to be impactful because we’ve relentlessly worked to drive our progressive policy agenda forward. That will continue to be the case going forward." (Hal Dardick)
*Sunday Spin: On the Sunday Spin, Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests include Tribune colleague Ray Long and Cory Jobe, the director of the state office of tourism. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720.
Follow the money
*The Illinois Republican Party reported a $20,000 contribution from AT&T Illinois’ political committee.
*Democrat Merry Marwig of Chicago reported a more than $1,400 contribution from Personal PAC. She lost her bid for Illinois House to Republican Rep. Michael McAuliffe in a race that neared $5 million in fundraising between the two candidates.
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
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