2012 elections: Several incumbents toppled in Illinois congressional and state legislative primaries

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March 21, 2012

By Geoff Pallay

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois: The Illinois primary election arrived today, with state voters flocking to the polls to decide which congressional candidate they wanted to see in the general election this November. Party primaries were held for 18 U.S. House seats, while on the state level, 59 State Senate and 118 State House seats were up for election.

One congressional incumbent was defeated while at least five state legislative incumbents fell at the hands of a challenger.

Here's a recap of the night's results.


Here are the candidates who are advancing to the general election:

Democratic Party

No results are available yet

Republican Party

No results are available yet

Third Party

No results are available yet

Members of the U.S. House from Illinois -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 8 12
     Republican Party 11 6
Total 19 18

State legislatures

Voters went to the polls to select candidates to appear on the November 6 ballot in 177 state legislative races in the State Senate and State House.

There are a total of 177 state legislative seats up for election this year. With two party primaries in each district, there were 344 possible primaries yesterday. Out of those 344 possible occurrences for voters to choose between multiple candidates, there were only 67 contested primaries. In other words, in 81.5% of the Illinois state legislative primaries, there was only one candidate running on the ballot -- or none at all.

  • There were 28 contested primaries in the senate, one of which, District 35, featured two current GOP incumbents who were drawn into the same district via redistricting. Dave Syverson faced Christine J. Johnson in the only state legislative incumbent vs. incumbent battle of the day.
  • There were 39 contested primaries in the house.

A total of 3 state senators and 2 state house incumbents were defeated. Additionally, one state house race between incumbent Democratic representative Toni Berrios and challenger Will Guzzardi remains too close to call.

State Senate

  • Democratic Party District 5: Incumbent Annazette Collins (D) lost to Patricia Van Pelt Watkins in a rematch from a 2011 special election. No Republicans filed, which means Watkins will be guaranteed election in November.
  • Republican Party District 35: In the only incumbent-vs-incumbent battle, the senior senator Dave Syverson comfortably defeated freshmen senator Christine Johnson.
  • Republican Party District 53: Incumbent Shane Cultra was defeated by state house incumbent Jason Barickman in the District 53 Senate race. The two had a prior connection. In 2010, Cultra won election to the state house. But he was immediately appointed to the State Senate. Barickman was then appointed to replace Cultra.

State House

  • Democratic Party District 39: Incumbent Toni Berrios is locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Will Guzzardi. With 99% of precincts reporting, Berrios leads by less than 70 votes.
  • Republican Party District 52: Incumbent Kent Gaffney was felled by David McSweeney by just under 600 votes, 41-35 percent. A third candidate, Danielle Rowe, pulled in more than 2,700 votes (24 percent).
  • Republican Party District 108: Incumbent Paul Evans was defeated by Charles Meier in a three-way race where the winner received less than 40% of the vote.

In one of the closer incumbent-vs-challenger races, incumbent Carole Pankau survived a close challenge from Randy Ramey in the Senate District 23 GOP primary.

Illinois State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 35 40
     Republican Party 24 19
Total 59 59
Illinois House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 64 71
     Republican Party 54 47
Total 118 118

See also