Illinois Primaries: Jackson Jr., Duckworth, Schneider Big Winners

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:47pm

Updated 11:48 p.m. | Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. routed his bitter nemesis and ex-colleague, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, in a Democratic primary today, virtually ensuring he will be elected to a ninth term in his South Side Chicago district.

West of the Windy City, Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth (D) captured her party’s nomination in the 8th district, putting her on a path to win a seat in Congress if she defeats Rep. Joe Walsh (R) this fall.

Illinois Democrats overhauled the Congressional map last year, redrawing many of the state’s 18 House districts to their advantage. The party created new — and popular — opportunities for Democratic candidates, which were demonstrated by today’s crowded and competitive primaries.

In the 10th district, businessman Brad Schneider trumped progressive darling and former organizer Ilya Sheyman. Democrats viewed Schneider as the more competitive candidate in the general election against freshman Rep. Bob Dold (R), and his victory bodes well for the party’s chances to pick up the suburban Chicago seat. Dold is one of Roll Call’s Top Ten Most Vulnerable Members this cycle.

Although the race hasn’t been officially called, former East Moline Alderman Cheri Bustos is headed to victory in the 17th district Democratic primary. She will face Rep. Bobby Schilling (R) in a competitive contest in November. Both parties will target the Democratic-leaning district on the northwestern side of the state. Schilling also recently made Roll Call’s Top Ten Most Vulnerable Members List.

In the 12th district, where Rep. Jerry Costello (D) is retiring, businessman Jason Plummer is on track to become the GOP’s nominee. Plummer, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, will face former St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Brad Harriman (D). Harriman is slightly favored over Plummer to hold the seat for Democrats.

Updated 11:48 p.m.

The only remaining Illinois House primary that was too close to call a little before midnight was in the 13th district. Democrats redrew the district to be more competitive, although Rep. Timothy Johnson (R) is still favored to win re-election there. Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten led emergency room doctor David Gill by fewer than 200 votes in the Democratic race, with 521 of 612 precincts reporting. Goetten is considered the favorite of the state and national party establishment.