CHICAGO — Democrats were returning to dominance in Illinois on Tuesday, as J.B. Pritzker unseated GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the party was looking to sweep other statewide seats and flip GOP-held congressional districts.
Rauner conceded the race to the billionaire businessman less than an hour after polls closed, and Republican attorney Erika Harold conceded the attorney general's race to Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul a short time later.
Democrats were leading over GOP congressmen in three of the four seats the party was targeting in the fight to win House control, although Republican John Shimkus was re-elected in the 15th District, which includes Vermilion County.
Democrats also were trying to increase their majorities in the state House and Senate.
The election saw higher-than-normal turnout, as Democrats pushed back against President Donald Trump and his policies and Republicans tried to hold on to some power in the left-leaning state.
Here's a look:
Republican Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton was trailing Democrat Sean Casten in a suburban Chicago district that's been in GOP hands for four decades. Casten, a scientist and businessman from Downers Grove, has argued Roskam is too conservative and too cozy with the president for the 6th District, which supported Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. Roskam says Casten wants to raise taxes, and he's criticized the first-time candidate for name-calling and "embracing the politics of ridicule."
Democrat Lauren Underwood was leading GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano for the 14th Congressional District seat. The Naperville nurse said she was motivated to run for her first political office after Hultgren supported health care legislation that would've made coverage of pre-existing conditions more expensive. Underwood, who's African-American, would be the first woman and first minority to represent the rural and suburban area north and west of Chicago once represented by GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hultgren says voters know he has a track record of getting things done for the district.
In central Illinois, Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan had an early lead over three-term Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville. Londrigan also made health care a central focus of her campaign, recounting her son's life-threatening illness and saying her family could have faced bankruptcy if they hadn't had health insurance.
She's criticized Davis for supporting legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, then joining a White House celebration of the House vote. Davis argued Londrigan is too extreme for the 13th District. Vice President Mike Pence headlined a fundraiser for Davis in October, and Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, campaigned with him.
Republican Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro was ahead of St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly of Swansea in southern Illinois' 12th District. The once reliably Democratic district strongly backed Trump in 2016, and the president campaigned for Bost last month.
Trump also was in the district in August, where he touted his trade policies at U.S. Steel in Granite City. Bost is a former state representative first elected to the House in 2014. Both he and Kelly are veterans — Kelly served in the Navy and Bost in the Marines. Green Party nominee Randy Auxier of Murphysboro also is running.
Harold conceded the race to replace four-term incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan to Raoul, a 14-year veteran of the state Senate, saying she wished him well.
"We need an attorney general who will be able to take the politics out of the office and to be able to bring us all together," she told her supporters.
Raoul, 54, was appointed to the seat in 2004 to replace the U.S. Senate-bound Barack Obama. He boasts a variety of legal experiences, including as an assistant Cook County state's attorney, and he criticizes Harold's lack of experience as a prosecutor.
Harold, an Urbana lawyer who used scholarship winnings as Miss America 2003 to get a degree from Harvard Law School, is a civil litigator who dismissed Raoul's complaints and posits herself as an able administrator willing to take on public corruption.
Raoul has built a record in the Legislature of fighting illegal guns and restructuring workers' compensation laws to curb abuses.
He said the attorney general's role has expanded in modern times to include defending taxpayers against federal overreach on issues such as the Muslim travel ban and keeping immigrant families together. He pledged to expand the post's vigilance in fighting online sexual predators and fighting gun violence with better trauma treatment of victims who research shows sometimes become perpetrators.
Libertarian Bubba Harsy of DuQuoin also was on the ballot.
Democrats, who have controlled both houses of the General Assembly for 30 of the past 42 years, were looking to expand their majorities after a rare and minor setback in 2016.
The biggest question for the majority party was whether it will regain a 71-seat supermajority in the House, which would give Democrats enough votes to override any veto by the governor. Senate Democrats have enjoyed a supermajority of 36 or more seats since 2007.
The biggest issue for Republicans, struggling to maintain the six seats, including four in the House, they picked off in 2016, is what they don't have: Gov. Bruce Rauner's money. The wealthy former private-equity investor and his top backers poured more than $40 million into legislative races in 2016. But Rauner focused more this election on his own bid for re-election.
Rauner produced $16 million to help GOP candidates this year, no small change. But it's a fraction of his contribution two years ago and is offset by more than $22 million in Democratic party-building contributions from Pritzker.