Nov. 03, 2010
Text and photo by Ted Regencia
SKOKIE, Ill — Dodging a national trend that swept away the Democratic majority in the U.S. House, Rep. Jan Schakowsky will keep her 9th District seat after defeating Republican Joel Pollak.
Schakowsky held off a spirited challenge by the Harvard-educated Skokie resident, getting about 61 percent of the votes cast compared with Pollak’s 37 percent. The Green Party’s Simon Ribeiro collected about 2 percent.
“We’re gonna have to stand together stronger and tougher than ever before, standing up for our progressive values,” Schakowsky said, even as she conceded that Democrats will become the minority party in the House.
“In 2008 we changed the guard; now in 2010, we guard the change. That’s gonna be our job,” she said, vowing to fight for “progressive values” for her Chicago and suburban district.
Schakowsky was greeted by more than 100 people at Firehouse Grill in Evanston, where she held her victory party.
Her campaign director, Alex Armour, said the congresswoman’s victory is “a clear endorsement of the progressive values and a repudiation of cynical Tea Party campaign tactics.”
Armour also credited the campaign’s get-out-the vote effort for the victory.
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, a longtime Schakowsky supporter, said she hopes to see the congresswoman fight for jobs and the budget. She is also eying “more stimulus” from the federal government.
Schakowsky has represented the 9th District since 1999. It covers Skokie, Evanston, Niles, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Park Ridge, Norridge, and parts of Wilmette, Northfield, Glenview, Golf, Rosemont, Des Plaines as well as the North Side of Chicago.
As of midnight, with 284 precincts out of 295 reporting in the 9th District, the Cook County Clerk’s Office said Schakowsky received 60,394 votes versus Pollak’s 36,982.
Earlier in the day, after voting in Evanston, Schakowsky vowed to push for Democratic-backed legislation on taxes and appropriations, during the lame-duck session of Congress following the Nov. 2 elections.
“There’s a lot of things that I’d like to see get done, including repealing of [the military’s policy of] Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and immigration reform,” she said. “But we’ll see what will be decided with what happens today.”
News reports and exit polling indicate a strong turnout for a midterm election.
“For this type of election, it’s been pretty good,” Skokie election judge Dave Signoretti said. “It’s probably as good as the presidential election, which is pretty good. I’m surprised.”
Katie Schmidt, a mother of two, said it was important for her to vote because “there’s a lot going in the nation, a lot of decisions to be made and I think we need the right people in there who will make these decisions.”
“I’ve voted many out,” Schmidt said, adding that she researched the candidates and was not persuaded by negative ads.
Jobs and the economy were the two issues on W. Jabusch’s mind when he cast his vote. The 80-year old Skokie resident said he was turned off by the negative ads running on TV.
“I didn’t like the advertising at all,” Jabusch said. “Very negative. People shouting insults at each other on television. It left a very bad impression, I think.
“If the kids will look at this, they would say, ‘What’s going on? They’re supposed to be our leaders. Instead they’re fighting with each other,’ ” he added.
Philippine native Loreto Gorres-Tiu, who became an American citizen this year, said she was “excited to vote and exercise my right.”
“Of course I’m gonna vote for those who are pro-immigrants,” Gorres-Tiu said, adding that she supports political moderates.