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Inkspot

Why the Midterms matter; Turning point in politics

The+Midterm+elections+are+often+overlooked%2C+yet+their+impact+and+importance+cannot+be+overstated.
Design: Inkspot Staff
The Midterm elections are often overlooked, yet their impact and importance cannot be overstated.

America’s Midterm elections are the younger sibling of U.S. politics — forgotten, neglected, underappreciated, and overlooked.  

The Midterms exist without any highly publicized conventions, clickbait-worthy debates, no elaborate merchandise lines–from beanies to flyswatters– to capture the hearts, souls and wallets of the American people. 

Yet, in less than four weeks, the Midterms may radically alter the fabric of our government. 

On November 8, ballots will be cast, determining who fills 35 Senate seats and all 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

36 gubernatorial races will be decided, and countless officials will be elected in numerous state and local elections across the country — from state Attorney Generals to county sheriffs.

For Bloomington-Normal residents, the impacts could be profound, with November 8’s election deciding representatives at the district, state, and national levels and a referendum determining Unit 5’s funding on the ballot.

Each week leading up to November 8, the Inkspot will share updates on the 2022 Midterm elections.


National Elections

With hot-button issues like abortion, immigration and economic policy dominating the country’s political discourses, the 2022 Midterms will determine who shapes U.S. policy and legislation until 2024.

In Congress, Democrats seek to maintain and strengthen their current razor-thin majority.

Currently, with 50 Democrat and 50 Republican Senators, Vice President Kamala Harris provides Democrats with an effective majority, serving as the tie-breaking vote in a Senate frequently split along party lines.

Democrats also currently control the House of Representatives, with Democrat Representatives holding 220 seats to Republican’s 212.

Republicans, meanwhile, hope to gain control of both chambers of Congress to eliminate Democrats’ ability to push through the Biden administration’s legislation.

 

 Senate Elections

The outcome of Illinois’ Junior Senate seat race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. Senate. 

An Emerson College Polling/WGN-TV/The Hill poll finds incumbent Tammy Duckworth (D) leading with an 18-point margin over Republican challenger Kathy Salvi (R) 50-31.

 

House Elections

Illinois voters will elect 17 candidates to serve in the U.S. House, one from each of the state’s newly-redrawn 17 districts. 

13 Democrats and 5 Republicans hold currently hold Illinois’ 18 House seats. However, redistricting after the 2020 election cycle resulted in the loss of a House seat in a Republican-majority district.

Illinois’ newly drawn congressional maps largely preserve the previously held Democrat-leaning districts, generating more competitive races in the state’s remaining Republican majority areas.

Bloomington-Normal will continue to be split into two districts with heavy partisan leanings: the Republican-majority 16th and the Democrat-majority 17th.

Representative Darin LaHood, who formerly represented Bloomington-Normal in the 18th, is seeking a fifth term in Washington, running to represent the 16th District. 

LaHood is running unopposed in the general election after defeating three Republican challengers and receiving 66.2% of the vote in the Republican primary. 

LaHood did not face an incumbent as the 16th District’s Representative, as Adam Kinzinger will retire after the conclusion of his current term.

In the 17th District, 10-year Representative Cheri Bustos (D) will not run for reelection. 

In her place, Eric Sorenson, a former T.V. weatherman, will represent the Democrats in the House race, challenged by Republican Esther Joy King, an Army veteran Bustos narrowly defeated in 2020.


Illinois Elections

Gubernatorial Race

In Illinois’ race for govenor, one-term Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker is defending his seat from Republican challenger Darren Bailey

Pritzker has consistently led Bailey in polling and is projected to win the race.

If he does, Pritzker has sparked speculation that he will run for the Democrat’s presidential nomination in 2024, provided Biden decides not to run for reelection.

 

Illinois House

Illinois’ newly drawn congressional maps left no incumbent in the 91st House District, which includes Bloomington-Normal. 

Current Representative Mayor Mark Luft (R) is running in the 93rd District instead, leaving the seat open to two new challengers: McLean County Board member Sharon Chung (D) and Town of Normal council member Scott Preston (R).  

While the previous maps favored Republican lawmakers, the new 91st slightly leans Democratic, making it one of the few Illinois swing districts.

Bloomington’s former Mayor, Illinois Wesleyan Political Science Professor Tari Renner, speculated in an interview with NPR, that the race for the 91st Disctrict could be one of the most competitive House races in Illinois outside of the Chicagoland area. Renner cited a combination of the area’s lack of partisan preference and the 2020 election cycle results as influencing this prediction.


Unit 5

Unit 5 residents will vote on the district’s proposed tax referendum on November 8.

The proposal would raise the education fund tax rate — which has risen just 10 cents over 40 years — from $2.72 to $3.60 in an effort to reduce the multi-million dollar deficit in Unit 5’s education fund.

The proposal will result in a decrease in tax payers in 2026 as the district pays off previous bonds.

Without the additional tax revenue, Superintendent Kristen Weikle stated that McLean County’s largest school district would be forced to make cuts to programs and staff and increase class sizes in the coming years.

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About the Contributor
Avani Rai, Editor-in-Chief
Avani Rai is a senior at Normal Community High School and is a part of the Speech Team, FBLA, and Swim team. This is her second year working with the Inkspot, where she is a senior staff reporter. Random fact about me is I've been to 10 countries outside of the United States. My hidden talent is that I am a fantastic procrastinator. My slogan to live by is never be afraid to make someone's day. Whether that's something small, like complimenting someone in the hallways, or something big, like advocating for what you believe in.    
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