Against Proft and Rauner’s Millions, Democrats Make Historic Gains

//Against Proft and Rauner’s Millions, Democrats Make Historic Gains

For Immediate Release
April 5, 2017
Media Advisory
Contact: Dan Kovats, IDCCA Executive Director
(773) 351-7818 /

Against Proft and Rauner’s Millions, Democrats Make Historic Gains

Big Republican outside money wasn’t enough to stop Democratic victories

Springfield, IL – Across Illinois, Democrats made unprecedented gains against outsized Republican spending and influence in local races. Republicans invested heavily in municipal and township races across the state, but Democrats made headway in elections they had not won – in some instances – for over a decade.

“Dan Proft and the Republicans were ready for the Democratic backlash after Trump’s election, but the money Bruce Rauner gave them wasn’t enough,” said Doug House, Chairman of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. “Across the state, Democrats picked up seats we weren’t supposed to win as well as in other places where thousands of dollars were spent against us. The takeaway: No Republican will go unchallenged no matter how hard and how tough the race will be.”

Democrat wins were evident across Illinois in these locations:

  • City of Kankakee – Chasity Wells-Armstrong upset incumbent Nina Epstein, electing Kankakee’s first Democratic African-American Mayor.
  • City of Rockford – Democrat Tom McNamara bested his opponents in a landslide, proving Rockford does not stand for Bruce Rauner’s turnaround agenda.
  • City of Springfield – Democrat Kristin DiCenso won in convincing fashion beating her Republican Precinct Committeeman opponent by almost 70%
  • West Deerfield Township (Lake County) – For the first-time Democrats took entire control of this Lake County Township.
  • Vernon Township (Lake County) – Democrats swept the trustee elections, as well as electing Daniel Didech as Supervisor – taking out five incumbents.
  • Normal Township (McLean County) – Democrats elected supervisors and trustees to this township board for the first time in over 100 years.
  • Capital Township (Sangamon County) – Lakeisha Purchase made history last night by becoming the first Democrat (and top vote getter) to be elected to the Capital Township board since 1976
  • Chatham Township (Sangamon County) – Diana Carlile became the first Democrat (and top vote getter) ever to be elected to this predominantly Republican stronghold.
  • Palatine Township High School District 211 (Suburban Cook County) – Love trumped hate, and incumbent school board members who supported transgendered students were re-elected against opponents funded by outside hate group Alliance Defending Freedom.
  • Maine Township (Suburban Cook County) – Democrats elected Claire McKenzie in the all GOP-controlled township government.
  • Richland Community College (Macon County) – Macon County Democratic Chairman Jim Underwood won in impressive fashion and will now be able to bring a strong Organized Labor voice as this Community College as they deal with higher education cuts from Bruce Rauner.
  • Lincoln Land Community College (Sangamon County) – Not even Donald Trump could save 16-year incumbent and former Trump State Director Kent Gray. He was trounced by Democrat Gordon Gates in this contested race.

In other races across the state Democrats came within inches of beating entrenched incumbents. Grass-roots Democrat Jackie Traynere lost by less than 100 votes against 30-year Republican Trump supporter Roger Claar after Dan Proft and others spent hundreds of thousands in television attack ads against Jackie.


The Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association is a statewide, grassroots Democratic political organization. It is made up of the elected Democratic County Chairmen in all 102 counties in Illinois. The mission of the IDCCA is to help elect Democrats in each county while continuing to grow the Democratic Party in the State of Illinois. Rock Island County Chairman Doug House is the President of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. Learn more at, and