Drobinski narrowly loses Senate race as GOP erases Democrat supermajority in House
While voters have taken away the Democratic Party's supermajority in Springfield, leaving them with a simple majority, they returned the 62nd District to its Democrat incumbent for another term.
Illinois state Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) for the second time fended off Republican challenger Rod Drobinski of Wauconda to keep his House seat. Yingling won by fewer than 2,000 votes in Tuesday's general election.
With all precincts counted, Yingling received 21,681 votes to beat Drobinski, who received 19,732, according to unofficial totals.
The 62nd District includes all or parts of Grayslake, Hainesville, the Round Lake communities, Lake Villa, Gurnee, Wauconda, Wildwood and Gages Lake.
Tuesday was the second time Drobinski and Yingling faced off over the seat. In 2014, Drobinski lost to Yingling the first time with Yingling getting 52.1 percent of the vote -- 13,910 votes -- beating Drobinski's 47.9 percent or 12,789 votes.
In the days prior to the election, the match between Yingling and Drobinski turned decidedly ugly. Yingling criticized Drobinski over a 2011 federal complaint that arose from accusations by the health care company Abbott Laboratories that Drobinski's collected more than $19,000 in monthly payments from his mother's pension fund after she died. Yingling maintained that Drobinski should be held accountable and that voters needed to know about the 5-year-old closed case. Drobinski said he'd paid the money back and said it had been Abbott's fault for continuing to send the payments.
The 2016 campaign between Drobinski and Yingling otherwise bore great resemblance to their 2014 match, with both complaining of distortions in political ads. Otherwise, the campaign focused largely on issues, which included Yingling's co-sponsorship of a House bill that was supposed to close corporate tax loopholes. Drobinski accused Yingling of supporting a proposal that would affect small and large businesses that collect sales tax. Yingling countered that no small businesses would be harmed.
Yingling hanging onto his House seat notwithstanding, Illinois voters otherwise whittled away at the Democrats' supermajority in Springfield. The party will keep its majority in the state legislature but it's not as large as it was. The GOP picked up three House seats and at least one Senate seat Tuesday.
At present, Democrats in the state Legislature number 71 in the House and 39 in the Senate, enough to override a veto from the Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. With GOP gains in Tuesday's election, Democrats in the state Legislature have lost their House veto-proof majority.
It also means that House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) has lost an important reason not to negotiate with the governor over legislation about which they disagree.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth took the seat of GOP Sen. Mike Kirk in Tuesday's election, while Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza took the seat of incumbent Republican Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger. Munger conceded around 11 p.m., prompting Mendoza to speak to supporters from a stage at a downtown hotel. "We really made a big difference today in the state of Illinois," Mendoza said.
Democrats also gained the 112th District seat of incumbent state House Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon), who lost to Democratic challenger Katie Stuart of Edwardsville.
But Tuesday's results were not all negative for the GOP in Illinois. In Chicago, Republican incumbent Rep. Michael McAuliffe was re-elected to his 20th District seat, defeating his Democrat challenger Merry Marwig in a race in which almost $3 million was spent, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
In the 71st District, Republican Tony McCombie of Savannah defeated incumbent state Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) and in the 79th District, state Rep. Kate Cloonen (D-Kankakee) lost to Republican challenger attorney Lindsay Parkhurst, also of Kankakee. In the 117th District, Republican Dave Severin of Benton defeated state Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion).
In the Senate, incumbent Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) was defeated by Republican Dale Fowler of Harrisburg for the 59th District seat.