The Spin special edition: Pritzker loses ‘fair tax’ ballot fight | Will election be a referendum on House Speaker Michael Madigan? | All eyes on battleground states in Trump vs. Biden

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Hi there. With a number of loose ends after yesterday’s nail-biter of an election, here’s a special edition of The Spin to give you the latest on winners and losers both nationally and in Illinois.

All eyes are on the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as the presidential race between Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden remains too close to call. Next door in Wisconsin Biden has a razor-thin lead and the Trump campaign has said it intends to ask for a recount.

The neck-and-neck nature of that race was mirrored in two tight congressional races in the Chicago suburbs where 6th District Democratic congressman Sean Casten declared victory over Republican former state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who conceded defeat in a midmorning statement; The Associated Press called the race for Casten early this morning. With 100% of precincts reporting in the west and northwest suburban district, Casten won with 51.5% of the vote, Ives 46,7% and Libertarian Bill Redpath less than 2%, according to unofficial results.

In the neighboring 14th Congressional District, the race between rookie Democratic U.S. Rep Lauren Underwood and Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis is still too close to call, though Oberweis was slightly ahead according to unofficial totals.

Both in their first term in Congress, Casten and Underwood flipped Republican seats in the 2018 blue wave that saw Democrats take the U.S. House.

We’re starting to see that some races may have served as a referendum on state Democratic Party leader and longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his ties to a federal corruption investigation involving utility giant ComEd.

Madigan has not been charged with any wrongdoing. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans from running on it and some see last night’s defeat of Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride as a blow to Madigan’s power.

The same conversation is happening over the Gov. J.B. Pritzker-backed referendum to switch the state’s flat income tax to a graduated-rate system. Pritzker’s team just conceded defeat in a battle of the billionaires pitting the Democratic governor, an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune against Chicago hedge fund boss Ken Griffin, known for opening his wallet for Republican causes and candidates.

Welcome to a special early edition of The Spin.

Next battle? Trump vs. Biden on the ballot count

Associated Press dispatch: President Trump says he’ll take the presidential election to the Supreme Court. And, the Trump campaign has said it’s going to ask for a recount in Wisconsin.

“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court — we want all voting to stop,” Trump said early Wednesday.

But the voting is over. It’s only counting that is taking place across the nation. No state will count absentee votes that are postmarked after Election Day.

Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign called Trump’s statement “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect” and said it has a legal team on standby.

Ohio State University election law professor Edward Foley wrote on Twitter Wednesday: “The valid votes will be counted. SCOTUS would be involved only if there were votes of questionable validity that would make a difference, which might not be the case. The rule of law will determine the official winner of the popular vote in each state. Let the rule of law work.”

Get the latest news here and regularly updated 2020 election results here.

In Illinois, Biden wins across all broad demographic groups: AP survey of Illinois voters — The Tribune’s Joe Mahr has the details here.

Sign up for The Spin to get the top stories in politics delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.

Pritzker finds himself on losing side of graduated income tax fight

From the Tribune’s Rick Pearson earlier today: The group backed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker to pitch his proposal to enact a graduated state income tax in Illinois acknowledged the constitutional amendment’s defeat Wednesday and warned of a financial morass as a result of the rejection of the proposed constitutional amendment.

The announcement of the proposal’s defeat was a blow to Pritzker, who had promoted the concept even as a candidate for governor in defeating one-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

With state finances hanging in the balance, the ballot proposition was viewed as a measure of Illinoisans' trust and faith in their current government after decades of corruption and an inability to adequately budget. Read the rest of the story here.

Ken Griffin a winner in fight to defeat Democratic Illinois Supreme Court justice; Madigan’s power in the balance

In addition to putting big money into the race to defeat Pritzker’s graduated income tax referendum on the ballot, Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund and investment firm, also found himself on the winning side of the effort to defeat Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride’s bid for another 10-year term on the bench.

Kilbride, 67, of Rock Island, didn’t reach the 60% threshold of voter approval to keep his seat and conceded defeat last night, the Tribune’s Ray Long notes in this piece. The results are seemingly a blow to Michael Madigan, the Illinois House Speaker who doubles as Illinois’ Democratic Party leader.

Griffin gave $4.5 million to the anti-Kilbride effort while packing mogul Richard Uihlein gave $1 million. State and national dark money groups with Republican, conservative and corporate ties gave hundreds of thousands more.

Madigan and federal corruption investigation loom over state House, Senate races: My Tribune colleagues Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks have the details here.

Casten declares victory over Ives; Underwood-Oberweis too close to call while Sen. Durbin sails to reelection

The Tribune’s John Byrne writes: Casten, of Downers Grove, released a statement shortly before 5 a.m. today claiming victory in Illinois' 6th Congressional District — a contest that turned into a referendum on Trump and the impact of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As I noted, the race between Jim Oberweis and Lauren Underwood in the neighboring 14th Congressional District is still too close to call with roughly 1,000 votes separating the two, according to unofficial vote tallies. The Tribune’s Patrick O’Connell has the latest here.

Downstate, the rematch between four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis and Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan was a reprise of the 2018 battle when Davis eked out a win by just over 2,000 votes, my Tribune colleagues Patrick O’Connell, Jamie Munks and John Byrne report.

With 100% of the vote in, Davis was leading Dirksen Londrigan 54.6% to 45.4%, according to unofficial results.

Davis commended Dirksen Londrigan for running “a spirited race, once again,” during a late night news conference in Taylorville. Though Londrigan had not conceded before Davis spoke, he called his lead “insurmountable.” Read about that and other closely watched races here.

My colleagues remind that the congressional races in Illinois may look quite different in two years: Illinois is expected to lose one of its 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives through the congressional reapportionment, which will be based on the results of the recently completed 2020 census. The redistricting process will take place next year.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin won reelection to a fifth term: The Associated Press called the race for Illinois' senior senator who is currently the No. 2 ranking Democrat in the chamber. The candidates vying to replace him in Illinois' only statewide race were Republican former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran; wealthy Chicago businessman Willie Wilson, running under his own party; Green Party candidate David Black; and Libertarian Danny Malouf.

Law and order on the ballot: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx fends off challenge, wins second term

The Tribune’s Alice Yin and Dan Hinkel report that Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the county’s first African American top prosecutor, beat Republican challenger Pat O’Brien on Tuesday night with solid backing in Chicago.

Foxx had 54% to O’Brien’s approximately 40% with 98% of precincts reporting at the end of the night. Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy had garnered about 7%.

She campaigned on criminal justice reform efforts that clearly resonated with voters and during a victory speech last night called for a unified effort to fight crime. Read the story here.

Foxx’s win was based on her support in Chicago, where unofficial totals showed she had hauled in nearly 560,000 votes to O’Brien’s roughly 263,000 with some 98% of precincts reporting.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin is in a close fight to keep his spot on the bench after County Democratic Party the Toni Preckwinkle-led Cook County Democratic Party decided against endorsing him — something he and others allege was retaliation for his appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case; Foxx worked for and is a protege of Preckwinkle, who is also Cook County board president.

Toomin also was the target of a widespread campaign among juvenile-justice activists painting him as dangerously out of touch, the Tribune’s Megan Crepeau reports.

With 98% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, about 62% of voters opted to retain Toomin, according‘ to the unofficial count. Judges need 60% of the vote to win retention, Crepeau reminds.

Thanks for reading The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons. Have a tip? Email host Lisa Donovan at ldonovan@chicagotribune.com.

Twitter @byldonovan

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