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Illinois primary races begin to take shape as filing period opens

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(The Center Square) – Democrat and Republican candidates for all Illinois House seats, some state Senate seats, all of Illinois’ U.S. House seats and some judgeships across the state are filing their nominating petitions to get on the March 19 primary ballot.

Monday opened the week-long window for candidates of the two major parties to file their nominating petitions. Some started waiting in line as early as 3:45 a.m. Monday, despite the bitter cold. All petitions for seats up for grabs are pending any potential objections.

Among the seats up for grabs are all 118 Illinois state House seats and 23 state Senate seats. Also up for grabs are all 17 seats from Illinois for the U.S. House. Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich explained what seats are not up for grabs.

“This time we have, other than president and presidential candidates don’t file till Jan. 4th and 5th, but we have no statewide candidates,” Dietrich said. “There is no U.S. Senator up this year.”

There are 77 judgeships up for grabs across the state on all levels. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White, who was appointed to her seat, is seeking a full term as a Republican.

“We are unique in that we do have to declare a party affiliation, which is interesting because of course everyone wants in a judge someone who is fair and impartial and who is going to follow the law and the Constitution and those things are very important to me,” Holder White said.

As of Monday afternoon, no other candidates filed for the 4th Illinois Supreme Court District seat.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy Cunningham, a Democrat who was appointed to replace retired Justice Anne Burke, could have a challenge from Jesse Reyes for the 1st Supreme Court district. Both filed Monday morning.

For statehouse seats, candidates from across the state, from both parties, filed for a chance to get on the March ballot. An entire list of candidates that have filed can be found at the Illinois State Board of Elections’ website.

For seats in Congress, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, is vying for a sixth term. He said he’s got years of experience and serves as a chairman for the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

“The last time that we had a person in Congress south of Springfield that actually had a full committee chair was 42 years ago,” Bost said. “It’s vitally important. It’s an advantage for your district.”

Former state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2022, is challenging Bost in the Republican primary. He said Bost is an insider and Illinois deserves more conviction from their representative.

“So the incumbent has been a congressman for 10 years, we had a state rep for 20 years above that, you tell me what experience gets you whenever this state has continually declined,” Bailey said.

Both were in line to file petitions before the doors opened Monday. They’ll be part of a lottery for whose name will appear at the top of the ballot for the Republican primary. Democrat Joshua Qualls filed to run against the winner of the 12th Congressional District Republican primary.

Among other matchups for seats in Congress, Republicans Thomas Clatterbuck and Joshua Loyd filed for the 13th District primary to run against incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski in November.

For the 9th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, could have a Democratic challenge from Michael Donahue, who also filed at 8 a.m. Monday.

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, could have a challenge from Charles Hughes in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary. Republican Niki Conforti filed as a Republican in that district.

In Illinois’ 4th Congressional District, Chicago Ald. Raymond Lopez filed to run against incumbent U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Chicago, in the Democratic primary.

“He was first elected when I was 6 years old. We’re ideologically different,” Lopez told The Center Square. “He’s more on the extreme, I’m more on the mainstream, and he’s focused on rhetoric while I’m focused on results.”

The 11th Congressional District of Illinois has three Republicans and two Democrats running in the primary. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, could face Qasim Rashid in the primary. Republicans Jerry Evans, O Kent Mercado and Susan Hathaway-Altman also filed for the seat Monday morning.

The window for major party candidates to file closes Dec. 4. The primary is March 19.

Non-established parties can file their nominating petitions to go directly on the November ballot starting June 17.

The General Election is Nov. 5.

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