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Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 06:11 pm

Primary primer

The rundown on the Feb. 2 primary election


Election poll workers help a voter insert their ballot in a machine on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008 in Chicago.

The 2010 primary election is right around the corner, and there’s a lot at stake for Illinois. With heavy budget troubles, Illinois’ next batch of leaders will have a huge say in the state’s future. It’s a year of hot-button issues and hotly-contested races, with many politicians aspiring to higher offices.

On Feb. 2, candidates from each political party — Republicans, Democrats and Greens — will face off against their party comrades for a nomination on the general election ballot in November. Some races have only one candidate, while some have a full baker’s dozen.

Each of Illinois’ 19 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is up for nomination, with contested races in the 17th, 18th and 19th districts that represent the Springfield area. Two Democrats face off in the 18th district for a chance to take on freshman Republican legislator Rep. Aaron Schock, while Republican Michael Firsching challenges fellow Republican Rep. John Shimkus in the 19th district. In the 17th district, Democrat Rep. Phil Hare faces no Democrat challenger, although he will face a Republican and a Green candidate in November.

Illinois’ junior seat in the U.S. Senate is open as well, to be vacated by current Democrat Sen. Roland Burris. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is leaving state politics to run for that seat against a slough of Democrat opponents, including former federal prosecutor and Chicago inspector general David Hoffman and five others. Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk faces six other Republicans for the seat. Chicago radio journalist LeAlan Jones is running for the seat on the Green Party ticket.

At the state level, all of Illinois’ constitutional offices are up for grabs. Governor Pat Quinn is seeking reelection via the Democratic nomination against State Comptroller Dan Hynes, while at least seven Republicans vie for their party’s nomination. Civil rights attorney Rich Whitney is running for governor on the Green ticket.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White are running for reelection with no opposition from their own parties, but they will face Republican and Green candidates in the general election. Because comptroller Hynes and treasurer Giannoulias are running for other offices, they won’t be seeking reelection to their current offices. At least seven candidates seek the comptroller’s office; at least four seek the treasurer’s office.

The seats of 21 state senators and all 118 state representatives will appear on the November ballot. None of the senators representing Springfield are up for reelection this year, though candidates for state representative in the 87th, 99th and 100th districts representing the Springfield area will appear on the ballot. Republican Rep. Rich Brauer faces opposition from his own party in the 100th district, while Republican representatives in the 87th and 99th districts face only challengers from the Democratic party.

Most county-level offices — county clerk, county treasurer, regional superintendent of schools and several county board seats — in Sangamon County are uncontested. Sheriff Neil Williamson, a Republican, has no opposition in his own party, although he will face a write-in candidate — Democrat Jeffrey Michael Regan of Chatham — in November. County board seats up for nomination are those in districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, and 28. Only districts 3, 23 and 28 are contested, however.

The deadline to register for the primary passed on Jan. 5, but voters who register during the grace period ending on Jan. 26 may vote in person only at the Sangamon County Election Office. Sangamon County voters can vote early by visiting the election office in person between Jan. 11 and Jan. 28.

Contact Patrick Yeagle at pyeagle@illinoistimes.com.

Voting in Sangamon County

Register at the Sangamon County Election Office in the County Building, 200 S. Ninth St. in Springfield, Room 105, before Jan. 26.

Grace-period registrants must register in person and vote at the County Building.

Take two forms of ID: one with your name and address, the other with your name.

Vote early at the election office before Jan. 28. Take a photo ID.

Call the election office at 753-6740, email sancoele@co.sangamon.il.us, or visit www.co.sangamon.il.us/election/default.asp for more information.

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