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Downstate perspective for our new governor

State Journal Register

Thursday, February 7, 2019  |  Letter to Editor  |  Tom Casteel

Pritzker, J.B.

Our new governor recently commented he’s anxious to “get to know” Sangamon County and the rest of Illinois. You’d think someone who just concluded a lengthy campaign would be familiar with much of the state. But it’s not surprising a Chicago politician might say that.

 

I offer some recent election results he may not be aware of, as perspective on downstate. More than 50 percent of voters chose J.B. Pritzker in only eight of our 102 counties. In the 101 counties other than Cook, Pritzker received just 43 percent, and less in Sangamon.

 

Illinois is often referred to by as a “solidly Democratic state,” but that’s misleading. While Cook County has a monolithic Democratic majority, the vast majority of the other 101 counties are consistently quite Republican.

 

In the governor’s race, votes from Cook represented about 38 percent of all votes cast. Cook County represents just over one-third of the state, but effectively controls what happens statewide. The 62 percent of voters outside Cook consistently choose a different winner, but end up with no representation, and very frustrated. I believe we currently have two senators representing only Cook County, who show zero interest in considering downstate. It’d be refreshing to see Mr. Pritzker do things differently, but I’m guessing we’ll just be worse off than ever.

 

Illinois serves as the poster child for why it’s imperative that we maintain the electoral college in presidential elections.

 

Tom Casteel

Chatham