When talking about Illinois, most everything revolves around Chicago and Cook County and surrounding counties where the bulk of the population lives.  Of the state’s 18 Congressional districts, 10 are represented by Democrats.  Of those 10, nine hail from the Chicago area or northeastern section of the state.  The only exception is Cheri Bustos in the 17th which is in the northwestern quadrant of the state.

Of the nine Chicago area Democrats, the GOP did not even field candidates in four districts although sacrificial lambs with the “R” after their names came forward in two districts.  Conversely, two Republican incumbent Congressmen downstate- John Shimkus and Adam Kinzinger- are running unopposed in 15th and 16th Districts, respectively while a third- Darrin LaHood is running virtually unopposed in the 18th (the Democrats failed to field a candidate, but someone stepped forward).

Still, that leaves four races of interest- one an open Democratic district and two Republican and one Democratic incumbent.  In the 8th District, Democratic incumbent Tammy Duckworth is stepping down and running against GOP incumbent Senator Mark Kirk in the Senatorial race.  For the Democrats, and likely winner, the candidate is Raja Krishnamoorthi who will have the longest name in the House if elected.    He defeated Mike Noland and Deb Bulwinkle (great name) in a race that wasn’t even close in the end.  On the GOP side will be DuPage County commissioner Pete DiCianni.  The 8th covers the northern suburbs of Chicago and is not as Democratic as some neighboring districts.  Being an open race, there is a slight chance of a GOP pickup here, but don’t count on it this year.

In the neighboring northern suburbs of Chicago lies the 10th District represented by Bob Dold, a Republican.  In a back and forth series of races, Dold defeated Brad Schneider in 2014 who defeated Bob Dold in 2012.  Schneider is back for a rematch this year.  However, he first had to overcome a relatively close primary election against Nancy Rotering.  Both are good fundraisers and this should be an expensive race down to the wire.  But with Clinton at the top of the ticket and the GOP brand somewhat tarnished in the state, expect Schneider to win his seat back.

Tonia Khouri barely beat out Nick Stella to win the GOP primary to take on Democratic incumbent Bill Foster in the general election.  Comprising the western suburbs of Chicago including Joliet, most pundits have this race safely Democratic.  One would have to agree with that assessment.

Freshman Republican Mike Bost represents the final competitive district- the 12th- which covers the southwestern corner of the state far removed from Chicago and it’s suburbs.  He will face C.J. Baricevik for the Democrats who raised some eyebrows by outraising Bost in one quarter.  However, Bost maintains a large lead overall in that category.  Democrats like to target freshman Republicans before they get entrenched and this race is no different, although mainly off the radar.  It may be closer than most would prefer, but one is expecting Bost to prevail.

In the Senate race, Mark Kirk- barely a nominal Republican- is the incumbent running against a highly popular and high profile Democratic candidate in Tammy Duckworth.  In polls conducted thus far, every indication is that Mark Kirk will lose this race.  However, the margin of victory may not be as great as the Democrats would like.  If voters break for Kirk at the last minute, it could change the dynamics of the battle for Senate control.

On the presidential front, Trump is performing about average for a GOP candidate in Illinois.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that this foretells a Clinton victory in double digits and should land somewhere between 13 and 18 points.

After this entry, the electoral vote count now favors Hillary Clinton 146-128 and she is more than halfway to the magical 270 needed to win.  The news gets worse for the GOP as they lose a Senate seat and one House seat, possibly two.  I am going with the worse case scenario and saying two.  The GOP lead in the Senate now stands at 53-47, and they maintain their lead in the House, 241-194.

Tomorrow: Virginia