How will Donald Trump impact GOP races in Illinois?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016
How will Trump impact other GOP races in Illinois?
Donald Trump is expected to lose big in the heavily Democratic Chicago area, but could attracts new Republican voters in rural areas.

MINOOKA, Ill. (WLS) -- How will Donald Trump's bid for the presidency affect the campaigns of other Illinois Republicans on the ballot?

Trump is expected to lose big in the heavily Democratic Chicago area, but if he attracts new Republican voters in rural and downstate regions, it could make a difference in state politics.

"There are areas in the state of Illinois in which we are competing for seats. Donald Trump is doing pretty well," said State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Westchester).

Illinois House Minority leader Durkin - who is trying to increase the number of Republicans in the state legislature - said Donald Trump at the top of his party's ticket could help in rural and downstate regions.

"I believe that Donald Trump may be of assistance or is not going to have any effect," Durkin said.

Durkin spoke Tuesday in Minooka, a town of about 13,000 growing in the soybean and corn fields of Grundy, Kendall and Will counties.

"Taxes I think are the big concern mostly for young, working families," businessman Gene Briscoe said.

Briscoe owns a fitness center and he gives Trump an edge here.

"I think people are tired of status quo. And I think he's kind of a refreshing face, if you will," Briscoe said.

"So far, all my family is voting for Trump that I know of. All of them? Like my grandparents. My parents," said Courtney Kohler, a Minooka resident.

But the billionaire businessman's continued gaffes appear to be costing him votes in Minooka, where resident Ken Kusmisz said Trump preys on ignorance.

"The people that are running to Trump's support I don't think are fully educated," Kusmisz said.

But Sandra Brozek, of Channahon, said Trump makes sense on the gun issue, which is so important in rural areas.

"I feel like eventually they want to take all of our guns away," Brozek said.

But Brozek, a Democrat, said she'll run home to Hillary Clinton because that's who is endorsed by her first choice, Bernie Sanders.

"He's for Hillary, so, that's what I'll probably go with," Brozek said.

On ABC7's trip to Minooka, there were no signs of a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton campaign. Both Democrats and Republicans are calling Illinois a "fly-over" state in the presidential election - meaning both campaigns will not spend a lot of time or money here.