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Russ Stewart and Tom Roeser Predict the Elections

Russ Stewart and Tom Roeser 30 October 2008 No Comment

The political scene, both nationally and locally, is abysmally grim for the Republicans.

For those Republicans averse to pain, read no further. For all others, here are the Nov. 4 prognostications of conservative radio talk show host Tom Roeser and longtime Nadig Newspapers political analyst Russ Stewart: The 2008 election will elicit the highest voter turnout in history. Voters are angry, anxious, fearful, wrathful and mournful.

They want a “way out” of the mess. They want to eradicate all memory of the Bush Administration. They want to bring back the happy days of Bill Clinton.

That is apparent with unprecedented early voting numbers. Those voters can’t wait to make a statement. And they’re not voting Republican.

In 2004, nationwide turnout was 122 million. In 2008, it will hit 140 million. Black turnout will be stratospheric, and blacks will vote Democratic for every office. A lot of working-class whites, however, will opt for McCain. But that will be counteracted by millions of suburban whites picking Obama.

President (nationally): A McCain victory is improbable, but not impossible. Bush got 286 electoral votes in 2004, but the pro-Bush states of Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia are likely to flip to Obama. But if McCain wins Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and scores an upset in Pennsylvania, he’s president.

ROESER PREDICTION: I’m sticking with a McCain upset for president consistent with my daily prayers for same.

STEWART PREDICTION: Obama wins, by an electoral vote of 291-244.

President (Illinois): The last Illinoisan to run for president was Adlai Stevenson. He lost the state by 443,407 votes in 1952, and by 847,646 votes in 1956. Obama won’t lose Illinois. Will he beat McCain by over one million votes?

Clinton won Illinois by 719,254 votes in 1992 and by 754,723 votes in 1996. Bush lost Illinois by 569,605 votes in 2000 and by 545,604 votes in 2004. In 2004, Obama won his U.S. Senate race by 2,206,766 votes. In the three Chicago-area black-majority congressional districts, Kerry won in 2004 by 691,717-136,426 (83.5 percent). Obama will win with 90 percent. Kerry won Chicago by 655,258 votes. Obama will win by 850,000. Black turnout will hit Harold Washington levels, but a lot of ethnic whites – especially on the Northwest Side –will vote for McCain.

ROESER PREDICTION: I’m not quantifying by numbers. I think it’s axiomatic that Obama will carry Illinois.

STEWART PREDICTION: Obama will win Illinois by 1.4 million votes.

U.S. Senator: Incumbent Dick Durbin is about as exciting as a dish of pudding, but he’ll overwhelmingly win a third term. Every Obama voter will choose Durbin, as will most Chicago pro-McCain Democrats. Republican Steve Sauerberg has absolutely no identity.

ROESER PREDICTION: Durbin will win because Illinois Republicans flubbed the chance to get a well-financed, well-known candidate.

STEWART PREDICTION: In a statewide turnout of 5.8 million, Durbin will get 65 percent, winning by close to 1,500,000 votes – and running ahead of Obama.

Cook County State’s Attorney: Republican Tony Peraica is running for the right office in the wrong year against the wrong opponent. Peraica got 47 percent in a 2006 bid for county board president against Todd Stroger. Corruption is epidemic in Chicago and Cook County. His Democratic opponent, Anita Alvarez, has worked for the state’s attorney’s office for 22 years. Peraica is trying to portray her as part of the problem, and argues that putting a Republican in the office would be real “change.”

Shouldn’t that mean an avalanche of Obama-Peraica votes? Not a chance. Alvarez is not Stroger. Over 90 percent of black and Hispanic voters will go for Alvarez; suburban and Lakefront white liberals, especially females, will be strong for Alvarez. Green Party candidate Tom O’Brien will shave votes from Peraica.

ROESER PREDICTION: I’m predicting a Peraica upset because corruption has so sickened voters they’re ready for a change. At least I hope so.

STEWART PREDICTION: Peraica wants a second crack at Stroger in 2010. To maintain his credibility, he needs to run 20 percent ahead of McCain. He’ll lose with 37 percent, which won’t be embarrassing in a blow-out Democratic year.

10th Congressional District (North Shore): Incumbent Mark Kirk (R) has got a deck chair on the Titanic. Kirk is a social liberal, but has been a stalwart supporter of Bush’s Iraq policies. Now he’s being ripped as a supporter of Bush’s economic policies. Both Kirk and his Democratic foe, Dan Seals, are proclaiming themselves as “independents.” Seals paints Kirk as a Bush stooge, and wants an immediate Iraq troop withdrawal. In 2004, Kirk got 64 percent, running 42,957 votes ahead of Bush, who got 47 percent in the district.

Seals, who is black, is wrapping himself tightly to Obama. A recent SurveyUSA poll had Seals up 52-44 percent, with Obama beating McCain by 62-36 percent.

ROESER PREDICTION: Kirk in a squeaker.

STEWART PREDICTION: Kirk will run at least eight percent ahead of McCain, but he won’t win unless McCain cracks 45 percent in the district. Seals will triumph by 30,000 votes.

11th Congressional District (south suburbs, Will and Kankakee counties): If voters want “change,” it won’t be by electing Democrat Debbie Halvorson, a 12-year state senator and a consistent backer of Governor Rod Blagojevich. But Halvorson has indelibly defined concrete construction magnate Marty Ozinga as an insensitive, greedy, millionaire Republican. Ozinga’s route to victory was to tie Halvorson to Blagojevich, but he has failed to do so. The latest SurveyUSA poll had Halvorson winning by 50-37 percent. In 2004, Bush won the district with 53 percent.

ROESER PREDICTION: Ozinga by an eyelash.

STEWART PREDICTION: Halvorson will win with 52 percent.

14th Congressional District (Fox River Valley: Elgin, Aurora, Yorkville): Jim Oberweis is the kind of unelectable Republican that poisons his party: arrogant, humorless, self-righteous, and intolerant. Oberweis spent $1.7 million, and got 47 percent in the March special election to replace former House Speaker Denny Hastert (R). The winner was Democrat Bill Foster. Hastert got 69 percent in 2004 and 60 percent in 2006. Was Oberweis’ dismal showing a personal rejection? Or a Republican rejection?

ROESER PREDICTION: Oberweis wins a close one.

STEWART PREDICTION: Foster wins again, this time with 60 percent.

18th Congressional District (Peoria, Lincoln, Springfield suburbs, and rural counties): Incumbent Ray LaHood (R) is retiring, and a new Republican star is being born. His successor will be 27-year old Aaron Schock (R), a two-term state representative.

ROESER PREDICTION: Schock all the way.

STEWART PREDICTION: An easy Schock win.

In the Illinois legislature, Democrats have a 37-22 majority in the Senate and a 67-51 majority in the House. Squabbling among Democrats has caused Blagojevich’s popularity to plummet. The latest Chicago Tribune poll had his “approval” rating at an anemic 13 percent. Republicans are trying to make the 2008 legislative contests a referendum on the governor. Democrats are trying to make the election a “choice” between Bush and “change.”

33rd Senate District (Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Elk Grove, Mt. Prospect): In this historically Republican district, energy trumps ideology. Incumbent Democrat Dan Kotowski is social liberal and big booster of gun control. But he walks precincts every day, postures as a fiscal conservative, excoriates Blagojevich, and has entrenched himself. Kotowski won by 1,434 votes in 2006. His 2008 foe is Elk Grove Township clerk Mike Sweeney, an aggressive but underfunded Republican. Obama will win the district.

ROESER PREDICTION: Unfortunately Kotowski. Not by much.

STEWART PREDICTION: Kotowski wins with 60 percent.

27th Senate District (Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Prospect Heights): Incumbent Republican Matt Murphy has been campaigning against Todd Stroger for the past year, enthusiastically championing his area’s secession from Cook County. That’s enhanced his visibility and popularity, as he won by only 3,183 votes in 2006. But a 2008 Democratic tide puts him in jeopardy. Peter Gutzmer, the 2006 Democratic loser, is trying again, and he is being heavily funded by Springfield sources. Republicans cannot afford to lose yet another “historically Republican” district.

ROESER PREDICTION: Murphy wins going away.

STEWART PREDICTION: Murphy squeaks through by 2,000 votes.

26th Senate District (Barrington, Wauconda, Cary, Lake Zurich, Libertyville): A Democrat has not been competitive here in, like, ever. Round Lake Mayor Bill Gentes (D) looked formidable until it was revealed that a real estate firm employing his wife handled a multi-million dollar village land purchase, and that he lied about being fired from his realtors’ job. Now Republican Dan Duffy is well ahead.

ROESER PREDICTION: Duffy with no sweat.

STEWART PREDICTION: An easy Duffy win.

42nd Senate District (Joliet, Aurora, Plainfield, Shorewood): Democrat Linda Holmes is not the brightest bulb in Springfield, and her pay-hike and pro-Blegojevich votes were inastute. . But Democrats are dumping close to $2 million into the district. Her Republican foe is Terri Ann Wintermute.

ROESER PREDICTION: Not familiar with this one. I pass.

STEWART PREDICTION: Holmes will win narrowly.

20th House District (Chicago’s Northwest Side): Incumbent Mike McAuliffe (R) is a likeable guy in a district with plenty of traditionally Democratic working-class residents, city employees, and Irish-American voters. Kerry won the district in 2004 with 55 percent, but Obama won’t top 40 percent in 2008. Unlike suburban white voters, who seem to be enraptured by Obama, Northwest Side whites are appalled at the prospect that he will occupy the White House.

McAuliffe’s Democratic foe is Mike Marzullo, who has endorsed Obama, and has run an inept, underfunded campaign.


STEWART PREDICTION: McAuliffe will win with 55 percent, and McCain will take the district with 61 percent.

65th House District (Park Ridge, Des Plaines): Incumbent Rosemary Mulligan (R) is a much-beloved icon, having served since 1992. She is pro-choice, socially liberal, and a woman – a perfect fit for the district. In 2006, she was unopposed. But an Obama sweep is in the offing, perhaps as high as 60 percent. And Democrat Aurora Austriaco is wrapping herself in the mantle of “change.” At least 80 percent of the Obama voters will hit for Austriaco.

ROESER PREDICTION: Mulligan. Her ads and mailings will pay off.

STEWART PREDICTION: Unless McCain gets 45 percent, Mulligan will lose. Austriaco will beat her by 800 votes (51 percent).

66th House District (Mount Prospect, Elk Grove): Incumbent Carolyn Krause (R) is retiring. Democrat Mark Walker has outworked, outspent and outshone Republican Christine Prochno. Also, hundreds of outside precinct workers, sent by Chicago Democratic committeemen, are flooding the district. Walker has one huge flaw: He was arrested twice for driving intoxicated within 24 hours. Republicans have failed to spend the money to make this an issue, and Krause has failed to spend any of the $100,000 in her campaign account to rescue Prochno, her protégé.


STEWART PREDICTION: Walker will win.

17th House District (Glenview, Skokie, parts of Winnetka, Wilmette): Incumbent Beth Coulson (R) is an accomplished RINO – Republican in name only. She is a social liberal and fiscal conservative. In 2004, she refused to endorse Bush. But voters are accomplished ticket-splitters.

Her 2008 Democratic opponent, Daniel Biss, is positioning himself as the

”change” candidate, and lumping Coulson into the “mess” in Springfield. Does he think voters in the district are idiots? They are, if they elect Biss. If Biss wins, he’ll be utterly irrelevant among the Madigan Monkeys in the Illinois House.


STEWART PREDICTION: Coulson wins with 55 percent.

53rd House District (Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights): Incumbent Sid Mathias (R), the Jewish former village president of Buffalo Grove, is a respected legislator, a social liberal, and a perfect fit for the district. His opponent is Carol Javens (D). The Obama 2008 tide is his doom.



56th House District (Schaumburg, Roselle): For over a decade, Paul Froehlich has been reviled, despised and disdained by the Democrats, whom he regularly beat, as township Republican committeeman, for township and local office. Now, after switching to the Democrats, he’s reviled, despised and disdained by the Republicans, who are backing Anita Forte-Scott against him.

If Froehlich were to be measured on a scale of 1-to-10 for trustworthiness, he’d get a minus-10. Nobody likes a turncoat. Nobody trusts a blatant opportunist. How can any liberal Democratic Obama voter support Froehlich?

ROESER PREDICTION: Forte-Scott in a close one.

STEWART PREDICTION: Republicans will certainly lose House seats, but if they knock off Froehlich, it will have been a good night. Forte-Scott will win by 500 votes.

92nd House District (southwestern DuPage County: Naperville, Bolingbrook): Is there an infestation of liberals in the Republican heartland? In 2004 and 2006, Republican incumbent Joe Dunn was unopposed, but retired in 2008. Now, quite incredibly, Democrat Dianne McGuire, a longtime area teacher, is poised to upset Naperville city council member Darlene Senger.


STEWART PREDICTION: McGuire wins by 200 votes.

112th House District (Downstate Edwardsville, Collinsville): Incumbent Jay Hoffman (D) is the governor’s unapologetic mouthpiece in the Illinois House, and he’s got real problems in 2008 – even with $1.24 million in his campaign account. Hoffman has worn out his welcome, and Republican Dwight Kay is gaining traction.


STEWART PREDICTION: An upset for Kay, which won’t make Mike Madigan unhappy.

The bottom line: Democrats in 2009-10 will have a majority of 38-21 in the Senate


Russ Stewart is a regular political columnist for The Chicago Daily Observer.

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