In a two-part political analysis written more than a month before the midterm elections, I predicted that Republicans would “run up the score” in Big Ten country – an eight state footprint that’s home to the legendary collegiate athletic conference. Based on demographics and polling, I concluded that if a nationwide GOP wave were to materialize on November 2nd, the party would need to perform strongly in this swath of Midwestern territory. How did my projections stand up on Election Night? Let’s examine the results, state-by-state:
Projection: GOP will gain 2-3 House seats, a senate seat, and the governorship.
Actual Results: Republicans exceeded my expectations in the House, holding a very competitive Northshore seat (IL-10) and picking up at least three Democratic seats (IL-11, IL-14, IL-17) across the state. As an apparent bonus, the underfunded and flawed Republican candidate in (IL-08) appears to have narrowly defeated incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean – a major upset, if it holds up. Bean now trails by only a few hundred votes, with hundreds of ballots still being counted.
Republican Mark Kirk weathered a furious last minute push by national Democrats to salvage President Obama’s old senate seat, defeating Alexi Giannoulias by two points.
As exhilarating as Melissa Bean’s apparent loss was for Illinois Republicans, gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady’s surprising defeat was equally, if not more, disappointing. Polls showed Brady with a solid lead over Gov. Pat Quinn on Election Day, yet the incumbent managed to hang on by the skin of his teeth.
Projection: Republicans will net a Senate seat and two House seats.