Illinois Supreme Court balance of power likely to remain Democratic; party may expand majority

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Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Democrats poised to hold, even expand, Illinois Supreme Court majority
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Democrats appear poised to maintain and expand their majority in the Illinois Supreme Court after winning one seat and being on the verge of winning the other.

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Republicans had the chance to take control of the Illinois Supreme Court for the first time in 50 years if the won the two open races Tuesday, but it appears that the Democrats are likely to retain control of the court and may even gain a seat.

Voters in the 2nd and 3rd districts decided two contested races for the state's highest court.

READ MORE: Full coverage of the 2022 Illinois election results

Democrat Elizabeth Rochford declared victory in the 2nd District, saying her opponent, Republican Mark Curran, called her to concede the race.

In the 3rd District, Democrat Mary Kay O'Brien was leading Republican Mike Burke with about 95% of the vote counted, though the race has not yet been called.

As voters in Elk Grove Village cast their ballots, many have seen tons of ads for candidates over the last couple months, including the two open seats on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Rhonda Decicco said abortion rights are important to her, and she was expecting to vote for a Supreme Court justice based on that issue.

"I thought it was the most important race besides the governor," she said.

Troy Neal is in the same situation, but because he lives in Cook County he does not get to vote in a Supreme Court race this time around.

"You're expecting to do something, now you get here and you can't do it," he said.

The Illinois Supreme Court is divided into five districts, and only the 2nd and 3rd have contested races this year. Cook County is in the 1st district.

"There's all this attention to a part of our state government we know very little about and I think it's very confusing," said Dr. Suzanne Chod, North Central College.

Issues like abortion rights and gun control likely to come before the court in the next years, and as of 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Democrats looked likely to expand their majority to 5-2.