Mark Kirk

President-elect Donald Trump, Gov. Bruce Rauner, and House Speaker Michael Madigan
Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr, Rauner and Madigan by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

As we get ready to welcome 2017, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another tough year in Illinois government and politics. We heard Republicans struggling to reckon with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, Democrats and Republicans engaging in another year of war over the soul of Illinois policy, and a growing list of everyday people being crushed by the budget standoff. Here now are some of the voices that made news in 2016.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Republicans made gains in the Illinois House and Senate, but Democrats cleaned up in statewide races. Meanwhile, Illinois government is still without a balanced budget — does the election change anything?

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Illinois voters are sending a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.

Kirk recovered from a debilitating stroke in 2012, but was always going to have a hard time holding onto the seat. He won the seat in the Tea Party wave election of 2010, and Illinois tends to vote more Democratic in presidential election years.

Kirk was magnanimous in defeat, inviting Duckworth to meet at Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern.

When the Cubs celebrated with a parade Friday in Chicago, it was on World Champion Chicago Cubs Day in Illinois. Gov. Bruce Rauner issued a proclamation making the designation official.

The Cubs winning the World Series is bigger than baseball" Rauner said in a statement. "This is a celebration for past and present fans along with all the Cubs' legends who never gave up hope.”

The team's victory also means that some of Illinois' top politicians are due for some brews.

An election season of unprecedented spending on negative advertising is coming to an end. How does it rank? And what does it mean for the future?

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U.S. Senator Mark Kirk says he apologized, and that apology was accepted, so it's time to move on from a controversial comment he made at last week's debate minimizing his opponent's family legacy of military service. The Republican gave an interview to public radio on Wednesday; click below to listen to the bulk of it.

Amanda Vinicky
Network Knowledge

Host Amanda Vinicky and guests Andy Maloney (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin) and Dave Dahl (WTAX) discuss Sen. Mark Kirk and Tammy Duckworth's debate as well as the comptroller debate and other election news.

CapitolView is a production of WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield, Network Knowledge.

Screencap of debate stream

Illinois Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has apologized for mocking his challenger Thursday night during a Springfield debate, and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth accepted.

A relatively small crowd was there to hear it live, but thanks to social media, Kirk's gaffe was quickly heard (and criticized) round the nation.

In talking about the cost of war, Duckworth brought up that her family's military service goes back to the American Revolution.

Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth participated in their first televised presidential debate this week. Kirk made a comment about his opponent's ethnic heritage for which he later felt compelled to apologize. We'll ask Charlie Wheeler why voters should care about the special election for Illinois comptroller. And Sen. Dick Durbin might mean it when he says he isn't interested in taking on Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Illinois voters aren't getting many chances to see their candidates for U.S. Senate face off. Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and the incumbent -- Republican Mark Kirk -- met Thursday in Springfield. It was the first of only two televised debates, and their only downstate match-up.

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.

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Politicians will not be ON the field as the Chicago Cubs compete in the World Series for the first time since 1945. But some have found another way to get in on the game.

The Chicago Cubs versus the Cleveland Indians is pitting Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner against Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Rauner stood outside Wrigley Field earlier this week (alongside Cubs owner Tom Ricketts) to say he'll send Kasich Chicago-style, deep dish pizza and a Chicago microbrew if Cleveland is victorious.

Illinois Republicans continue to struggle with their reactions to Donald Trump's bus video. Congressman Rodney Davis withdrew his endorsement while Gov. Bruce Rauner continues trying to dodge the question.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune editorial board is backing Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth over Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, citing concerns about Krik's ability to do the job following his 2012 stroke. And the advocacy arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute has screened its movie attacking House Speaker Michael Madigan.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Simon Poll says incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk is 14 points behind Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Democrats and Republicans are trying to use the other side's unpopular leaders to sink down-ballot candidates. Plus, Illinois is awash in campaign cash.

Rauner-Madigan-Cullerton approval poll
Fall 2016 Simon Poll / Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

We’re just over a month away from the election of 2016. It’s a season of campaign advertising, speeches, debates, and of course polling.

Every election cycle, Illinois voters are asked their opinions on a range of issues by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.

This year, they weighed in on elections for president and U.S. Senate, the popularity state government leaders, and whether Illinois ought to amend its constitution to lock in road-building money.

Any business that does not allow guns is required to post a sign approved by the Illinois State Police.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has gained an endorsement in his bid for re-election. It could help him win crucial votes from suburban moderates, but it might also frustrate an important part of the Republican electorate.

John Cullerton, Bruce Rauner and Michael Madigan
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Can Democrats convince voters to see Donald Trump as an albatross around the neck of Illinois Republicans?

Amanda Vinicky

Support for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump remains tepid among leaders of the Illinois Republican Party.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Donald Trump continues causing headaches for down-ballot Republicans. Meanwhile, state legislators are already airing TV ads, and a conservative group sues to block same-day voter registration.

Amanda Vinicky

Supporters of Donald Trump say now that the Republican National Convention is over, and he’s the nominee, it’s high time party leaders got on board.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

 An Illinois delegation that’s a mix of political newcomers, elected officials, lobbyists and the like have arrived in Cleveland, as the Republican National Convention gets underway.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Comptroller Leslie Munger says Illinois is spending itself into what could be a $10 billion dollar pile of unpaid bills by the end of the year. On top of that, an nonpartisan state budget forecaster is predicting an $8 billion dollar deficit for this year alone.

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A push to change Illinois' flat income tax into a graduated tax died on the vine this week. And Illinois Republicans have some difficult decisions to make now that Donald Trump appears to have won the party's presidential nomination.

Trump and Rauner
Trump by Michael Vadon / Flickr, Rauner by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A member of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says the Republican governor will not endorse Donald Trump as the GOP standard-bearer in the November election.

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

As Chicago State University moves closer to closing, Gov. Bruce Rauner this week said he's “very upset" about Illinois not having a budget. But didn't he once outline just this sort of plan as a way to advance his agenda of hobbling public employee unions? Meanwhile, several things happening in and around the U.S. Supreme Court are reverberating in Illinois.

Rich Berning

Long before President Barack Obama's trip this week, the U-S has had a physical foothold in Cuba, via its naval base and prison at Guantanamo Bay. Obama's seeking to close down the detention center there. Illinois' U.S. Senators are split on its future.


Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who is running for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's seat, sharpened her attacks against the Republican a day after winning the Democratic primary.

Hillary Clinton eked out a win in the state where she was born and raised, Donald Trump prevailed despite lackluster support from most of the state's GOP leaders, voters finalized who'll compete to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate, and a couple dozen state legislative contests were decided Tuesday night in Illinois' primary election.

Dick Durbin
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have vowed to block any nominee the president might submit to succeed the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says there’s more than enough time to consider who should fill the vacancy.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois' junior, Republican Senator Mark Kirk -- opposes the nuclear deal with Iran. But the state's senior U.S. Senator Democrat Dick Durbin, has been key in sheparding it through Congress. That's provided grist for the D.C. rumor mill.

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