Chris Essig

Walkthroughs, tips and tricks from a data journalist in eastern Iowa

Posts Tagged ‘DK Hirner

Election night coverage

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I kind of all ready gave a run down of my election night last Tuesday….But here are links to the two stories I wrote:

  1. Shimkus wins GOP primary in 19th Congressional District
  2. Hirner claims win in Democratic primary, will face Schock in November

These stories were all about speed. Because we were on such tight deadlines, we had to pump these out fast. So I made a few quick calls, put the stories up and updated them as new result numbers come in.

These races may not have gotten the attention that many of the other nes did but I glad I got some real-time election experience under my belt.

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Written by csessig

February 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Today is the Illinois primary!

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Today is Super Tuesday in Illinois, meaning 20 some-odd percent of eligible Illinois voters will be deciding which candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, comptroller, U.S. Senate and other races will be representing each side of the isle in November’s general election. Across the board, this is going to be one of the most contested series of races in recent history, in part because the list of open races and vying candidates is so long. But at the same time, turnout has been very low across the state since the polling places opened at 6 a.m. It should be interesting to see if things pick up around 5 p.m. when most Illinoisans are getting off work.

My day hasn’t really started yet because the polls don’t close until 7 p.m. I’m not scheduled to work until 5 p.m. As we get closer to 7 p.m., be sure to follow Lee Enterprises on Twitter @Illinois_Stage. Both Mike and I will be tweeting throughout the night as the results come in. For tomorrow’s papers, I will be reporting on 18th Congressional District and 19th Congressional District, which means things will probably get real busy around 9 p.m. when races are being called. I will have a full update in the next day or two.

A few other Public Affairs Reporting interns are going up to Chicago to cover the races, including Tim Magaw and Chase Castle from the Daily Herald and Steve Contorno from the Chicago Sun-Times. I’m sure they are going to have some stories to tell when they get back tomorrow but for now it’s all (or mostly, at least) business.

While this isn’t my first time covering an election (I covered city elections while working at the Daily Eastern News at EIU), it will be my first Congressional election. Hopefully everything goes according to plan, and I’m not working too late…The House is scheduled to be in session tomorrow so there will be no rest for the weary.

And, finally: go out and vote! With so many contested elections, you could make a difference.

More election coverage

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On Friday, our Statehouse bureau unleashed seven (!) election stories for the weekend. I had my hand in two of them, both related to Congressional elections. And both feature long-shots, either in the general or primary election. Let’s take a quick look:

1. In the 19th Congressional District, incumbent John Shimkus faces his first primary opponent in 14 years. That is quite an impressive run. Veterinarian Mike Firsching of Moro is hoping to do the unpredictable and unseat Shimkus for the first time since he was elected. However, Shimkus is severely out-fundraising him. According to federal records released last week, Shimkus has raised $211,000 between October and mid-January. Firsching hasn’t raised close to that, only saying he’s pitched in $3,000 of his own money.

Here is a quick look at the story:

Firsching said he ran, in part, because he believes the federal government has too much power. He pointed to the Department of Education as an example and said Washington shouldn’t be control of local school districts. As a student of the Constitution for the past four years, he said he would vote against proposals that expand the government’s powers beyond those laid out in the Constitution.

He also cited dysfunction in Congress and a lack of personal freedoms as reasons for running against Shimkus in the southern Illinois district.

And here is the link.

2. In the 18th Congressional District, incumbent Aaron Schock does not face a primary candidate. So instead, I covered the Democratic race, which features Deirdre “DK” Hirner of Springfield and Carl Ray of Washington. While the election could be interesting, the winner will likely have an uphill battle because the central Illinois district hasn’t elected a Democrat for more than 90 years. Think about that for a second: 90 years! Wow. Now that is a strongly GOP district.

But getting back to the Democratic candidates, here is a look at the story I put together for the weekend:

Hirner was critical of Schock for voting against the stimulus package, health care legislation and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, which gives workers more time to take cases concerning pay discrimination to court.

“The 18th district deserves someone who will work for them in Washington,” she said.

Ray was upset Schock voted against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, which provides federal matching funds to states for health care coverage of children. The measure was vetoed by President George W. Bush twice, although it eventually passed and later was expanded by President Obama.

In fact, Schock’s “no” vote was the tipping point for Ray to enter the race. He said the vote hit home because he has an autistic son. He was born around the same time his wife became very sick, which raised the cost of health care for the family.

And the link.

And that is it for this election update. Expect coverage from these races and more as the election nears.

And remember, get out the vote (in just a week)!

Written by csessig

January 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm