Chris Essig

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

Posts Tagged ‘primary season

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.

The first week

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I just finished my first week interning in the Statehouse with Lee Enterprises. It was nerve-racking, exciting and pretty much every emotion in between. But I survived. Honestly, it was a fairly slow week given the lingering holiday season. But next week promises to be more action-packed as the legislature will be convening for the spring session. They only be here for three days, though, and then they’re off to the campaign trail. This year’s primary is absurdity early: Feb. 2.

Regardless, I got three bylines this week, which is not bad for my first week. Here is a quick recap:

1. My first byline was…Drum roll please….a political endorsement! State Sen. and Lt. Gov. candidate Matt Murphy picked up a big endorsement from Sen. Majority Leader Christine Radogno. Here is the info:

SPRINGFIELD — Republican Matt Murphy was endorsed Wednesday in his bid for lieutenant governor from the state’s first female leader in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, is endorsing Murphy, a state senator from Palatine, in his run for the No. 2 job in Illinois.

Radogno said Murphy is the only statewide candidate she is endorsing in the February primaries.

Here is the link. Check it out!

2. The Obama’s proposed plan to buy the Thomson prison in northwestern Illinois and turn it into a federal prison that would house terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has caused quite the stir statewide. Democrats, including Sen. Dick Durbin, are mostly for the plan, while Republicans, including Rep. Mark Kirk, are mostly against it. They contend the plan would turn the small town into “Gitmo North.” Another big criticism from state legislators is the lack of say they have in the sale. Some are upset Quinn can sell the state asset without approval from the General Assembly.

As a result, two representatives have proposed a bill that would require the General Assembly to approve all sales of state-owned property valued at $1 million or more. Whether it actually goes anywhere is anybody’s guess. But here is the primarily info:

SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers would have to approve all sales of expensive state property, including the Thomson prison in northwestern Illinois, under legislation pending in the House.The proposal would require the state to receive approval from the General Assembly before selling unused, state-owned property valued at $1 million or more.

Property must also be unused for six years or three years plus three foreseeable years.

The Thomson prison, which is worth more than $100 million, would fall under these categories.

And the link.

I was surprised to see this get so much play on the Pantagraph’s web site. But it is a very hot issue that is only going to get more volatile as the campaign season heats up.

3. And last, but not least, a preview of Quinn’s State of the State address on Wednesday. This piece was co-written by myself and the Lee bureau chief, Kurt Erickson. And a fancy quote:

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn will shine a spotlight on himself Wednesday when he makes a pre-election address to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

Not only will the speech kick off the spring legislative session, but it also will serve as the unofficial start of the sprint toward the finish line of the primary election season.

The address is (surprise!) a statement on the state of Illinois. Every governor delivers one once a year. It should be noted that the speech will be separate from Quinn’s budget address in March. But the budget has to be the focal point of the speech because the state is in possibly the worst fiscal condition it has ever been in. I wonder, how will Quinn be realistic without being horribly pessimistic? I doubt he can be…And to make matters more interesting, the primary election is only three weeks away. I know, I know. It’s absurb to have the election in dead of winter. But, regardless, it is coming. And some are wondering how that will affect the tone of the speech…

Oh, and the link.

Well that was my first week. Not incredibly enthralling but fun nonetheless. Stay tuned for more posts from the daily grind!

Image posted by Flickr user myoldpostcards. It is used under a Creative Commons license.

Written by csessig

January 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm