With Democrats holding on to majorities in the state house and senate, and appearing likely to keep their hold on the governor’s mansion, it appears Evanston’s Democratic Party leadership is well positioned for their next election campaign in 2012.
Township Committeeman Jeff Schoenberg told supporters at Tuesday’s victory party that Evanston Democrats have to "put a progressive thumb on the scale of Illinois politics."
That’s because the control of Springfield puts the Democrat’s state leadership in charge of drawing new political district boundaries once 2010 census results are released.
With the local party’s performance contributing strongly to overall Democratic strength, there’s little reason to believe the party leaders will redraw those boundaries in ways that might weaken Democrats in Evanston.
Evanston Township Democratic Committeeman Jeff Schoenberg conceded on election night that the Evanston group’s decision to endorse independent Forrest Claypool, who lost his challenge to Democrat Joe Berrios, will have "some political consequences" for him among the other committeemen in the party.
"But fights like this are the ones that are worth fighting for," Schoenberg said. "They really define who we are as an organization."
Claypool led narrowly in suburban precincts, but trailed Berrios by more than two-to-one in Chicago.
"Evanston outperforms most of the state in producing Democratic votes," Schoenberg, who’s also a state senator, said. "It provides a disproportionate margin that’s critical in close races statewide and on the county ticket."
"The linchpin for success for Democrats running statewide this year is how well they do in the suburbs. We pounded away to make sure we got every vote out," he added.
Evanston Republicans failed to show much drawing power at all in this election. Former township assessor Sharon Eckersall won less than 18 percent of the vote in the county assessor’s race. Evanston GOP leader Linda LaFianza got just under 27 percent of the vote in her race for a county commission seat.