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Chicagoans react to mid-term elections

Rauner supporters await his victory speech Tuesday night. Photo credit: Maria Castellucci.
Rauner supporters await his victory speech Tuesday night. Photo credit: Maria Castellucci.

Story by: Lorena Arbe, Megan Bennett, Diamond Brown, Jacob Ecker, Ashley Feuillan, Preston Hau, Jaclyn Jermyn, Jennifer Jones, Beyza Ozer, Joshua Short, Bianca Smith, Rana Tuggle and Lauren Tussey.

Tuesday’s night’s mid-term election results drew praise and criticism from Chicago residents, as well as visiting tourists from north of the U.S. border, following a Republican rout in national and local races.

“People are tired; they want change,” said Fernando Carranza, 52, a lawyer rushing down State Street and headed to court. He said he thought Bruce Rauner’s election as the first Republican governor of Illinois since 2003 was the result of a protest vote and that eventually the governor’s seat would return to the Democrats.

“I’m not convinced that business acumen translates into political acumen,” said

Terence Smith, 46, special counsel for labor relations at Columbia College Chicago. Smith said he voted for Gov. Pat Quinn because “consistency is greater than a shake-up.”

“,” was a campaign site sponsored by Rauner’s supporters.

Ray Hodges, 18, a freshman cinema arts and science student at Columbia College Chicago, said he voted for the first time Tuesday. Though he voted for Quinn, he was not too upset about the results of the election.

Hodges, an African American, said that his grandparents and parents talked to him about the importance of voting while he was growing up.


Columbia College student Ray Hodges, discusses his experience as  a first time voter. Photo Credit: Diamond Brown
Columbia College student Ray Hodges, discusses his experience as a first time voter. Photo Credit: Diamond Brown

“It didn’t seem like a big thing to me, but it is to my parents and grandparents,” Hodges said.

Olivia Brennock, a knife salesman from Massachusetts who lives in Chicago, said gender issues were overlooked by both candidates in the governor’s race.

“A lot of politicians and people disregard this demographic because of the so-called taboo around them,” Brennock said. The increased weaponry used by the police was another issue that concerned her.

“The militarization of the police is horrifying and the fact that people are OK with it is even more horrifying,” Brennock said.

Marie Gumz, 74, said she felt the results of Tuesday’s election was the result of the influence of “big money” in politics.

Rauner and Quinn spent more than $97 million on the governor’s race, according to Rauner spent more than $27 million of his own money.

“It’s going to make it more difficult for social programs and educational programs to go through,” said Gumz, a retired teacher, said of Rauner’s election.

Fred Wisby, 58, said he was concerned about Rauner’s positions on raising the retirement age and restructuring government pension plans.

“They need to stop messing with that money, we need that,” said Wisby, a security officer for AlliedBarton Security Services.

Katie Woods, 24, a bartender and student at the Illinois Center for Broadcasting said she is not registered to vote in Chicago but that poverty and education are two issues she would like the new governor to address.

She said the poverty in Chicago was worse than she experienced in Cleveland, where she is from.

“There is a lot that could be done, people just don’t realize it,” Woods said.

Terry Johnson said though he is a registered voter, he doesn’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils.

“If you offer me hemlock and you offer me acid to drink, either way you’re asking me to submit to death,” said Johnson, 43, a student at Roosevelt University, who lives on the North Side.

Rick Zolia, 69, a freelance writer from Iowa, said the only governors he knows from (Illinois) “always end up in jail.” Zolia is in Chicago for a David Bowie exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art with his wife of 49 years.

The elections also caught the attention of visiting tourists who were monitoring the results.

“We do watch what happens in the U.S.,” said David Swasby of Toronto, Canada who is visiting Chicago with his wife, Marcia. “The U.S. had terrible, terrible results. Thank God we live in Canada.”

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