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Election Notebook: The Numbers

The apoplectic reaction of some Republicans to Tuesday night's loss is a bit perplexing; after all, President Obama managed to snag just 50% of the popular vote, a mere two-point margin over Mitt Romney.

Put another way, Romney won 57,821,399 votes to Obama's 60,662,601. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won nearly 1.2 million votes (Green Party candidate Jill Stein won just a bit over 400,000).

Sure, we elect presidents through the Electoral College, but even there Obama's 303 votes - Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is still too close to call - isn't particularly impressive for an incumbent. Obama won 365 electoral votes in 2008. Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996 with 379 electoral votes, a nine-vote increase from 1992. Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984 with 525 electoral votes, a 36-vote increase from 1980. Richard Nixon was re-elected in 1972 with 520 electoral votes, a 219-vote increase from 1968. Dwight Eisenhower was re-elected in 1956 with 457 electoral votes, a 15-vote increase from 1952. FDR's electoral vote totals were 472, 523, 449 and 432.

Now, perhaps this reflects a more divided country than in those days.

We all remember 2000. And George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004 with just 286 electoral votes, though that was a 15-vote increase from 2000. Maybe this is a trend.

Nonetheless, Obama is the first president since FDR's last of four presidential campaigns to win re-election with fewer electoral votes than four years prior.

And Obama won more than six million fewer votes than he did in 2008 - a tough feat considering that vote totals tend to at least keep pace with population increases.

True, Democrats made "small but solid gains" in both houses of Congress. But AP reports that Republicans also could end up with the most governorships they've had since the 1920s.

And it was just two years ago that the Tea Party's success at the polls scared the bejeezus out of Democrats in "the largest congressional-seat loss since 1948."

In fact, we go through this every two years. The media overreaches, the winning party overreaches, the losing party corrects and comes back, then they overreach, and the cycle goes on and on.

(Not that the media is driving this alone; Republicans are doing a lot of talk right now about "soul-searching" on their way to figuring out "what happened." Is it really such a mystery?)

Home Court
* Obama won his home state by the predictably comfortable margin of 57.3 percent to 41.1 percent.

* Obama won 74 percent of Cook County.

* Gary Johnson received 54,798 votes statewide.

* "Others" received 29,336.

Congressional Delegation
* Jesse Jackson Jr. won more votes (181,067) than Jan Schakowksy (179,468). (106,129 votes were cast against Jackson.) I always said Jackson could win this race from a hospital bed or jail cell.

* Aaron Schock won more votes than any statewide candidate - other than the president - with 243,295. He was followed by Bobby Rush (225,098) and Danny Davis (224,377).

Illinois House
* Seventy of the state House's 118 districts were uncontested.

* The indicted Derrick Smith won his race with 24,276 votes to Lance Tyson's 14,412. That's Lance, with an "L." At his house today.

* More than 6,000 citizens in the 22nd District cast votes against Michael Madigan. Somehow, I don't think they are fearing retribution.

* Democrat Sam Yingling received almost 100 more votes than Madigan in his upset over incumbent Sandy Cole in the 62nd District (that's Grayslake way) to become the fourth openly gay member of the Illinois House and the first who doesn't live in Chicago.

* An endorsement by Democratic U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez wasn't enough to save Republican Skip Saviano in the 77th (Northwest suburbs), where Kathleen Willis won 13,449 to 12,127.

Illinois Senate
* Thirty of the state's 59 senate districts were uncontested.

* Republican Milkman madman Jim Oberweis finally won an election with 51,187 votes to Democrat Corinne Pierog's 37,749 in the 25th (St. Charles-Aurora).

* Not a single judge lost a retention race, including these six.

Cook County
Vote totals for incumbents with token opposition

* Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown: 1,220,896.

* Recorder Karen Yarbrough: 1,215,387.

* State's Attorney Anita Alvarez: 1,348,783.


On the other hand, the respective (Republican) losers got a lot of votes too - Diane Shapiro, 510,032; Sherri Griffith, 482,213; and Lori Yokoyama, 396,435.

Water Board
The most ironically worst place to be Green. Top three win.

* Debra Shore (D) 711,095.
* Patrick Daley Thompson (D) 622,191.
* Kari K. Steele (D) 614,911.
* Carl Segvich (R) 366,417.
* Harold "Noonie" Ward (R) 350,513.
* Dave Ehrlich (G) 176,200.
* Karen Roothaan (G) 156,783.
* Nasrin R. Khalili (G) 86,033.

Memo to Nasrin: You might want to go with O'Kelly next time around.

Board of Tax Review
A real barn-burner in the 1st District, where Republican Dan Patlak defeated Democrat Casey Thomas Griffin 298,084 to 281,080.

Which means Patlak got more votes than every congressman Illinois just elected.


* Election Notebook: Big Blue


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 8, 2012

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BOOKS - Searching For The World's Largest Owl.


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