With one final precinct left to report its total votes, Democratic 26th Illinois House District hopeful Christian
Mitchell's communications director, Dave Miranda, says he is confident that his candidate has
"In 2010, only 92 people voted in that precinct," Miranda told Progress Illinois in a phone interview Wednesday morning. "Even if every voter from 2010 cast their vote for Kenny Johnson, he would still lose."
And voter turnout was at a record low yesterday. At about
5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, only 168 voters had cast their ballots at St.
Chrysostom's Church in Illinois' 26th House district, with just an hour
and a half before the polls closed.
Voters like Ruth Ann Green, who lives in the northern section of the district — which runs from the top of the Magnificent Mile all the way south to parts of Hegewisch in the city's 10th Ward, said they're disappointed with the low turnout.
“There's a great deal of apathy in terms of voting in general and the local races never draw what the national race does,” Green said outside St. Chrysostom's Church in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood after casting her ballot.
While Green said she votes because she hopes to “change things” she declined to say who she voted for.
Similarly, a few miles south in the 26th district at Old St. Mary's Church in the South Loop, volunteer election official Joann Saulsberry said her polling place had about 540 registered voters, but at about 6:30 p.m. only 127 had shown up to vote.
“This is unusually low, even for a primary race,” said Saulsberry, who is volunteering for her fifth election cycle. “We usually have about 300 voters by this time of the day.”
The 26th district is where candidates Kenny Johnson, a 41-year-old marketing and advertising veteran, and Christian Mitchell, the 25-year-old protege of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, fiercely battled for a chance to pick up the empty House seat.
While the two Democrats see eye-to-eye on many issues, Johnson told Progress Illinois it's his experience as a father, businessman, and former employee of U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. that sets him apart.
Meanwhile, Mitchell touted his experiences working for Alderman and former Illinois House Representative Will Burns and Toni Preckwinkle.
Miranda told Progress Illinois in a phone interview yesterday that the campaign was confident of a win, despite the low turnout.
“It's always a disappointment when voters don't take part in a democracy, but when there's low voter turnout it comes down to who's done the best job of getting out the vote, and we've done what we need to do,” Miranda said.
Johnson appears unwilling to concede as of yet, as evidenced in our liveblog last night. Johnson’s campaign did not respond to calls by Progress Illinois by the time of this post.
According to unofficial voting tallies posted on ABC 7, Mitchell is leading Johnson 51% to 48% (a 507 vote lead) with 98% of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 1 (3:46 p.m.): Mitchell's communications director Dave Miranda tells Progress Illinois that the race between his candidate and Kenny Johnson is over, with Mitchell being the Democratic nominee in Illinois' 26th House District.
"We are honored and humbled by the support and that the people in Illinois' 26th House District picked him as the nominee," said Miranda. "We are looking forward to getting to work."