Given that a race for a judicial subcircuit seat was one of the most interesting local contests, it’s not hard to imagine that voter turnout in suburban Cook County for the March 18 gubernatorial primary election was historically low, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr.
Turnout in suburban Cook County was just 15.7 percent, said the clerk, eclipsing the previous low-turnout total of 23.9 percent in the 1998 primary election.
In the Democratic primary race for the Mulhern vacancy in the Fourth Judicial Subcircuit, just 7 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. But even for relatively competitive races, such as the Republican primary for Illinois governor, voters stayed away in droves.
“Boring was really the bottom line,” said Scott Schulze, who has worked as an election judge in Riverside for almost 20 years.
Schulze said that in the precinct he was working, just 78 people voted out of a possible 490, about 16 percent.
“There was two weeks of voting, so I don’t know how much that took away from our precinct,” Schulze said.
One thing he did notice was that in this primary, those who did vote were primarily older.
“We weren’t getting voters between the ages of 20 and 50,” said Schulze. “They were all over 50.”
In Riverside Township just 12.4 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the Republican primary for governor. Bruce Rauner, by the way, was the winner in Riverside Township with 49.5 percent of the vote, topping Tracy Dillard’s 34.7 percent.
Apart from that race, there were precious few races to bring out voters. None of the area’s Democratic state representatives — Silvana Tabares (D-21st), Michael Zalewski (D-23rd) and Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez (D-24th) — received a primary challenge, and Republicans failed to run primary candidates in all three districts.
In the state senate, Steve Landek (D-12th) was also unopposed in the primary and will not face a Republican challenger in November.
In races for U.S. Congressional seats, Danny Davis (D-7th) and Daniel Lipinski (D-3rd) had unopposed primaries. Davis will face Republican Robert Bumpers, who won an uncontested primary, in the fall. Lipinski will face off against Republican Sharon Brannigan, who defeated Diane M. Harris by a margin of 62.6 to 37.4 percent in the Republican primary.
Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) had two primary challengers he handily defeated, getting 74.3 percent of the vote. In November, Gutierrez will face Republican Hector Concepcion, who was unopposed in the primary.