Politics of Illinois
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In the past, Illinois was a critical swing state leaning marginally towards to the Republican Party. This has changed and the state has supported Democratic presidential candidates since 1992. John Kerry easily won the state's 21 electoral votes in 2004 by a margin of 11 percentage points with 54.8% of the vote. Traditionally, Chicago, East Saint Louis, and the Illinois portion of the Quad Cities have tended to vote heavily Democratic, along with the Central Illinois population centers of Peoria, Champaign-Urbana and Decatur.
Rural districts have tended to vote more heavily Republican, and the southern half of the state has historically tended Republican since the 1920s. The Republican Party was strongest in southern Illinois during the sixties and seventies when Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford won all areas of southern Illinois, with the exception of East St. Louis, three to one.
Rod R. Blagojevich (Democrat) was elected Governor in 2002, replacing George H. Ryan. Blagojevich was re-elected in 2006, defeating Republican state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. However, in 2009, Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office due to charges that he abused his power while in office. Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn succeeded him.
Statewide elected officials
|Lieutenant Governor||Sheila Simon||Democratic||2011|
|Secretary of State||Jesse White||Democratic||1999|
|Attorney General||Lisa Madigan||Democratic||2003|
|Comptroller||Judy Baar Topinka||Republican||2011|
|U.S. Senator (Class II)||Mark Kirk||Republican||2010|
|U.S. Senator (Class III)||Richard Durbin||Democratic||1997|
|2008||36.9% 1,981,158||61.8% 3,319,237|
|2004||44.48% 2,345,946||54.82% 2,891,550|
|2000||42.58% 2,019,421||54.60% 2,589,026|
|1996||36.81% 1,587,021||54.32% 2,341,744|
|1992||34.34% 1,734,096||48.58% 2,453,350|
|1988||50.69% 2,310,939||48.60% 2,215,940|
|1984||56.17% 2,707,103||43.30% 2,086,499|
|1980||49.65% 2,359,049||41.72% 1,981,413|
|1976||50.10% 2,364,269||48.13% 2,271,295|
|1972||59.03% 2,788,179||40.51% 1,913,472|
|1968||47.08% 2,174,774||44.15% 2,039,814|
|1964||40.53% 1,905,946||59.47% 2,796,833|
|1960||49.80% 2,368,988||49.98% 2,377,846|
Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry carried Illinois with 54% of the vote. His victory in Illinois was largely determined by a wide margin of votes cast in Cook County, with many counties outside of the Chicago metropolitan area voting for President Bush. Illinois politics are largely regionally divided, with Chicago and a few downstate microurban communities supporting Democratic candidates, the Chicago suburban counties being primarily "swing" or "purple" areas, and much of the rural portion of the state being conservative. Several of the notable "downstate" blue spots that contributed to Kerry's win include East Saint Louis, the Quad City region, Peoria, and Champaign and Jackson counties, which have a large college-bound population.
The 2008 Presidential election featured Democratic candidate, and Illinois native, Barack Obama facing off against US Senator John McCain. Barack Obama carried Illinois by a much bigger margin than Kerry did in 2004. Obama won Illinois with 61% of the vote. In addition to carrying major urban centers, Obama won a number of rural counties as well, a trend reflected across the country and especially the Midwest. Prior to his election to President, he represented the state in the US Senate since January 2005.
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