For the November 6, 2012 general election, The Illinois Observer has endorsed the following Illinois State Senate candidates:
31st Melinda Bush (D) vs. Joe Neal (R) Neither candidate provides a realistic grasp of the complexity of the Illinois pension crisis nor a credible to solution to address its multiple moving parts. Nevertheless, Melinda Bush’s experience as a Grayslake Trustee, Lake County Board Member and Forest Preserve Commissioner, is far superior to her opponent’s possession of a minor Republican precinct committeeman’s post. Bush is endorsed.
34th Steve Stadelman (D) vs. Frank Gambino (R) This race is a difficult choice. We dislike that both candidates offer wafer thin proposals to solve the Illinois pension crisis. We like that, overall, that both candidates are thoughtful individuals. We wish that Steve Stadelman had elected government experience, but we like the fact that he, as a TV anchor and reporter for 25 years, has been in tune with both the issues and public opinion of the Rockford region and that the Rockford region has tuned in to follow Stadelman faithfully for those 25 years. Stadelman is endorsed.
36th Mike Jacobs (D) vs. Bill Albracht (R) Albracht is preferred.
38th Christine Benson (D) vs. Sue Rezin (R) We are unimpressed with Senator Sue Rezin’s brief and undistinguished career in the Illinois Senate. Christine Benson, who has a doctorate in Education Administration from Illinois State University, would make a valuable voice in the Illinois Senate on Illinois education reform. Benson is endorsed.
40th Toi Hutchinson (D) vs. Joseph Marshall (R) In her relatively new legislative career, Senator Toi Hutchinson has made great strides. Hutchinson is endorsed.
42nd Linda Holmes (D) vs. Peter Hurtado (R) During her time in the Illinois Senate, Senator Linda Holmes has energetically made multiple, strong, and useful relationships in Springfield. We expect more of the same. Holmes is endorsed.
43rd Patrick McGuire (D) vs. Sandy Johnson (R) Newly appointed Senator Patrick McGuire faces voters for the first time on November 6. We think his and his family’s long-time commitment to the Joliet area–as a member of the Joliet Township High School District 204 Board of Education, as Will County Treasurer, and Braidwood City Clerk–community merits a full-term. McGuire is endorsed.
46th Dave Koehler (D) vs. Pat Sullivan (R) On the central Illinois plain, there are few courageous elected officials who are willing–without fear–to offer a progressive voice like Senator Dave Koehler. Courage is a rare trait in an industry populated by windmills. Koehler is enthusiastically endorsed.
48th Andy Manar (D) vs. Mike McElroy (R) Central Illinois voters fortunately have two solid candidates with local government experience from whom to choose for this new Illinois Senate seat. Nevertheless, we think Andy Manar’s combined experience as Mayor of the City of Bunker Hill–starting at age 25–and four terms as the Macoupin County Board Chairman and as Chief of Staff to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton–a job that goes mostly unmentioned by his campaign–uniquely positions him to be an extraordinarily effective state senator. Manar is endorsed.
49th Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D) vs. Garret Peck (R) While we would prefer that he channel his flame-throwing partisan rhetoric into more productive policy purposes, we think that Plainfield Village Trustee Garret Peck would be an energetic, and, hopefully, a productive lawmaker. Peck is endorsed.
52nd Michael Frerichs (D) vs. John Bambenek (R) Someone who stands tall, literally, as the tallest member of the Illinois Senate, and who stands tall on principal, Senator Michael Frerichs tackles intelligently some of the biggest issues that matter regarding Illinois public policy. Frerichs is enthusiastically endorsed.
54th Danny Stover (D) vs. Kyle McCarter (R) A Tea Party favorite, Kyle McCarter faithfully and aggressively represents the Tea Party segment of his constituency. We would wish that he would represent at least a majority of his district and consider the interests of the minority once and a while, too. Nevertheless, we like his spirit. McCarter is endorsed.
56th Bill Haine (D) vs. Mike Babcock (R) Here is an easy choice. As one of the most thoughtful, productive, and gracious members of the Illinois Senate, we think that Bill Haine deserves another term. Haine is endorsed.
57th James Clayborne (D) vs. Dave Barnes (R) Chicago Democrats need solid lawmakers from downstate Illinois providing their view of the world to their northern colleagues. Senator James Clayborne, a member of the senate Democratic leadership team, is a needed voice for southern Illinois. Clayborne is endorsed.
58th Michael Bigler (D) vs. David Luechtefeld (R) A long-standing legend in the Illinois Senate and in his community, Senator David Luechtefeld, known as “coach” for his 38 years as the basketball coach at Okawville High School, is a gentleman who brings civility and thoughtfulness to the Illinois Senate. Luechtefeld is enthusiastically endorsed.
59th Gary Forby (D) vs. Mark Minor (R) Minor is preferred.
Editor’s Note: In this publication’s five-year history of covering Illinois state government, we have had a policy of offering no election endorsements. For the 2012 elections and beyond, that policy has changed. Thus, The Illinois Observer launched its “Endorsement Project 2012.” Our Editorial Board has reviewed the questionnaires and endorsements of legislative candidates from special interest groups and from other media outlets in Illinois. We reached our own conclusions. Thank you for reading.