by David Ellis
Things that surprised me on Tuesday:
1. The Republican steamroller, that left Democratic bodies in its wake throughout the country, was stopped in Illinois by … Pat Quinn.
2. Alexi Giannoulias gave a very graceful and dignified concession speech. If he’d have run his entire campaign that well, he might be a U.S. Senator-elect.
3. That dumb special senate election. It didn’t exactly surprise me but I had forgotten about it. The next time President Obama has a chance to appoint someone to the U.S. Supreme Court, and someone mentions Dianne Wood from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, remember that Judge Wood was the one who authored the opinion that we had to have two elections for U.S. Senate, one for a 6-year term and one for a 2-month term. I think she interpreted the Constitution correctly but the remedy she chose was ridiculous. People were confused as hell about having to vote for two different Kirk-Giannoulias races.
4. It may very well be the case that Scott Lee Cohen hurt Bill Brady more than he hurt Pat Quinn. That’s pretty ironic considering that many observers believed Cohen ran for governor out of spite after he was booted off the ticket with Quinn.
5. Melissa Bean losing (if, in fact, she has lost, which seems to be the case). Yes, it was a Republican landslide, but she had gone to great lengths to vote like her district, which is center-right. Then again, she did vote for that health-care bill.
6. Jalapeno peppers on a pizza are really hot. That has nothing to do with politics but it surprised me on Tuesday.
And a few other observations:
1. The only person who still thinks Bill Brady has a chance to be elected governor is Bill Brady.
2. The thing the polls rarely capture adequately, but which is often the most decisive factor, is
3. All the news outlets had Pat Quinn listed as an incumbent. He wasn’t. See, here’s what happened. He was lieutenant governor and there was this guy in the top spot named Blagojevich …
4. And yeah, as long as I’m being a pain in the ass about this, that also means that Quinn wasn’t “re-elected” to the job; he was just elected for the first time.
5. Although I imagine a lot of people didn’t notice, one of the most significant things that happened on Tuesday was the retention of Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride. First of all, he’s a good man. But more importantly, the attack groups were going after him basically for one vote he took on the medical malpractice law. We shouldn’t be kicking judges out of office because we disagree about one vote; judges have to be unafraid to make unpopular decisions. Even the Chicago Tribune endorsed Kilbride’s retention, making that very point. So score one for judicial independence.