Illinois’ hotly contested and expensive race between incumbent state Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) and Democrat Merry Marwig is largely considered to be a proxy battle waged by GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.
That’s how several voters on Chicago’s far Northwest Side characterized the 20th House district race after casting ballots today.
“I think there’s a real clear divide in the state between folks that support Rauner and, sadly, folks that support Madigan. I’m not a Madigan supporter, but I abhor what Rauner is doing, holding the state hostage” over his “turnaround agenda,” said Frank Schulz, 58.
“Again, not crazy about Mike Madigan, but if I have to pick the lesser of the two evils, I’m going to pick the one that is not gonna be supportive of those kinds of policies. And in that case, Marwig got my vote by default,” Schulz added. “McAuliffe, even though many of his views don’t agree with mine, I respect the man. But because (he is) a Rauner candidate, I simply couldn’t bring myself to vote for him. It’s just that simple.”
Valentine del Valle, 40, voted for McAuliffe. He said he could not support Marwig because she is backed by Madigan.
“Madigan’s been around for 30 years, dude. I mean, nothing’s changed,” del Valle said. “We just keep getting screwed, so it’s time for change.”
He laughed as he added, “Consider me a frustrated voter.”
Schulz and del Valle voted this afternoon at Norwood Park’s Windy City Community Church, a polling site in the 20th House district.
Progress Illinois also caught up with some voters at the Chicago Public Library’s Roden Branch, another polling site in the district.
“McAuliffe is associated with Rauner, who I’m not a fan of … because Rauner’s trying to crush the unions, and I’m in a union,” said Frank Zepf, 62. “I’m not saying Mike Madigan’s not flawed, don’t get me wrong. But he seems he’s pro-union, and I’m pro-union because I’m in a union. So it’s just basically voting for my own interest there. Obviously, not directly but indirectly.”
McAuliffe, the sole Chicago Republican in the state legislature, was first elected to the legislature in 1996. Marwig is a political newcomer and anti-airport noise activist.
The McAuliffe v. Marwig contest has been one of the most expensive races in the state this election cycle.
Another voter at the Roden Library expressed frustration over the amount of money spent on the contest.
“I think there’s too much money,” said Susan, 68, who declined to provide her last name. “And in regards to Marwig and McAuliffe, I know McAuliffe. I don’t know Marwig. But I think there’s too much stuff with the Democratic Party. Not that I’m a Republican. I’m really an indie.”
Meanwhile, voters also had strong views on the presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.
“It’s a sad state of affairs,” Schulz said of the race for president. “I voted Democratic just because I couldn’t imagine the thought of the other candidate being the president of the biggest country in the free world.”
Del Valle voted for Trump.
“Honestly, I think we’re all screwed either way,” he said, when asked about the presidential race. “I voted for Trump. The only reason, I just want our jobs back. … That’s the major thing that’s affecting us is our jobs. Everybody’s out of work. Nobody’s making money.”
Zepf, a Clinton supporter, said Trump has “zero qualifications” to be president.
“The Republicans, it’s like they want to lose the election,” Zepf said. “You got Trump. Are you serious? And the sick thing to me, this guy, could you imagine him being president? No. It would floor me.”