Illinois race heats up; candidates for office approach final stretch

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Associated Press

DeKALB — With the March 20 Illinois primary elections approaching, candidates are rounding the corner for their last hurrah.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker has spent $63 million on his campaign to date, according to IllinoisSunshine.org. He also leads the Democratic gubernatorial race, according to a Feb. 28 poll conducted by Southern Illinois University; 31 percent of the Democrats polled said he would have their vote in the primary elections.

“Right now, in the early polling, you’re seeing Pritzker and Kennedy have the lead,” said Tim Kirsininkas, former president of the NIU College Democrats. “Polls focus on people who they know are engaged and active in voting; they’re the ones who are contacted in polls.”

Kirsininkas said Senator Daniel Biss’ polling numbers have not been as strong as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy and Pritzker, but his campaign is focused on getting support from a younger demographic typically ignored in early polling.

Kennedy has spent about $2.6 million of his own money on the campaign.

Other candidates on the Democratic side for governor are Bob Daiber, a former Madison County Schools superintendent, and perennial candidates Tio Hardiman and Robert Marshall.

Also up for elections are Illinois’ Congressional House representatives. DeKalb is in the 16th Congressional District. Adam Kinzinger, 16th Congressional District Republican incumbent, is running against James Marter, who previously ran against Mark Kirk in 2016.

There are four Democrats running in the 16th district; Amy Briel, Sara Dady, Neill Mohammad and Beth Vercolio-Osmund.

“Each of these candidates are very interested in hearing the opinions of younger voters and college students,” Kirsininkas said. “I say, feel free to reach out to these candidates. If you have any questions and reach out to them directly, they will want to hear your voice and make sure you’re making an informed decision.”

There are also races for both the House and Senate at the state level, but for DeKalb, current senator Dave Syverson is running unopposed.

“A lot of people don’t really realize the magnitude of the decisions our elected officials have on every aspect of our lives,” Kirsininkas said. “The application of our education system or taxes, these everyday policies that affect our lives. We need to be aware of who is making what decisions and what decisions will affect them as well.”

DeKalb residents can register to vote at their local DMV, 1360 Oakwood Ave., or at their local armed forces recruitment center. according to usa.gov, People can also register online at ova.elections.il.gov. Early voting opened on March 5 and ends March 20. In Illinois, only the last four digits of a social security number is required to vote.Students may need to update their address information with their local DMV based on there previous congressional districts.

“College students are the next generation; they’re going to be in charge within the next twenty years,” said Layla Werner, junior political science major. “You want an accurate representation now of those who are going to be in charge in the future.”