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This is just a summary of my current half-baked thoughts concerning the political races I am interested in.  

I've yet to begin my self-educating process in earnest though.  

I'll talk about IL-17 (Bustos vs. Schilling), IL-Gov (Rauner vs. Quinn) and IL-Senate (Durbin vs. Oberweis )

In the comments: feel free to give dissenting opinions or to discuss what races interest you the most.

At the national level, I am most interested in the US Senate race.  We'll be extremely fortunate to hold to a 50-50 tie.  I honestly think that the Republicans will end up with a slight majority.

The House: forget it: Republicans pick up seats.

BUT, the above is really based on guessing; I haven't studied the polls and betting lines all that much.  I'll know more this summer.

But as far as Illinois:

1. Senate: Senator Dick Durbin should be able to beat dairy owner Jim Oberweis.   I'll send him some monetary love, but in all honesty this will be because I want to be on the side of a winner.

2. Governor: Gov. Pat Quinn faces "businessman" (think: Donald Trump with a better educational pedigree) Bruce Rauner.  Here is a REPUBLICAN attack ad against Rauner (primary race)

The only polls I've seen were very old (one favored Quinn, the other favored Rauner); there hasn't been much polling lately.  And in 2010, Quinn was way behind and ended up winning a close race though he was 7 points down. I predict a repeat performance; he is a very good politician.

If I were making a line, I'd call this one a toss-up.  Why it is close: Rauner IS a smart man but I wonder if he will listen to reason from his campaign staff.  He is also a political neophyte who openly says that his models of success is Wisconsin and Indiana.  Hence in the Republican primary, he lost a 10 point lead in the polls and barely held off a dull challenger.

I'll send Gov. Quinn some love.

3.  IL-17.  Cheri Bustos is in a rematch with Bobby Schilling.  In 2012, she won by 6 points though President Obama carried her district by 17.   This should NOT be a close race BUT it will be...if we are lucky.  I've said this before and will say it again:

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

Her margin was about 18,000 votes.

She won the 3 urban areas by 23,700 votes and her winning margin was 18,000 votes.  But evidently this means nothing to her; she has actively moved toward the Blue Dogs (conservative Democrats).   Yes, I know, President Obama is only a 43 percent nationally, but he remains popular in the urban areas that she absolutely has to win and get a big turn out.

I'd have to make Schilling a favorite in this race.  The only reason that she has a chance (IMHO) is that Gov. Quinn is good at getting good turn-outs and she might, again, might, be able to ride his coattails in these areas.

I sent her campaign a bit of love but I am debating...is this a waste of money?

My summary:  

Least likely: getting shut out (all of my candidates losing)
Not likely but possible:  a sweep.  (if this happens, the bottled water is on me!)
Possible (what I predict): going 2-1.
Probable (not a huge surprise) : going 1-2

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