The Latest: Early voting strong in Illinois ahead of primary

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on primary elections in Illinois (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Illinois elections officials say the state had more than 437,000 early votes cast before Tuesday’s primary election.

Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said Tuesday afternoon that the figure is more than double what the turnout was in the previous non-presidential primary year. Voters in Illinois are choosing Democratic and Republican nominees in what’s shaping up to be the most expensive election for governor in U.S. history.

Jim Allen with the Chicago Board of Election says as of Tuesday afternoon turnout was at 21.7 percent. He says hopefully the city can inch toward 30 percent turnout.

In Sangamon County, home to the state capital city of Springfield, the clerk says voting was “smooth and steady” Tuesday morning. Clerk Don Gray says there’s been “a nice flow of participation.”


1:55 p.m.

Democratic voters in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district are deciding whether to continue supporting U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski or back political newcomer Marie Newman.

Lipinski is known as one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. He’s seeking his eighth term.

Newman has the backing of progressive groups and lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders. The district includes parts of Chicago’s south and west sides and southwestern suburbs.

Beauty shop owner Manuel Hernandez of Berwyn says he’s going with Newman. The 46-year-old father says he doesn’t think Lipinski “is enough of a Democrat.”

Trucking company worker Joe Nowak of Summit says he voted for Lipinski because he’s comfortable with him. He says Lipinski has been “a neighborhood figure my whole life.”


10:30 a.m.

Illinois voters headed to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in the state’s hotly contested Democratic and Republican primaries for governor.

Trucking company worker Joe Nowak of Summit in suburban Chicago says he voted for Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker, citing the need for change. He says Pritzker “has been knocking on doors his whole life.”

Investment banker Suzanne Riordon from Brookfield says she cast her Democratic primary ballot for state Sen. Daniel Biss, who has touted himself as the middle-class candidate. She says she chose him because “we’ve gotten away from regular middle-class people being able to be elected.”

Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner faces a primary challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives. She got a vote from 59-year-old electrical contractor Robert O’Malley in suburban Chicago. He says he chose her because Rauner “went back on some of his promises.”


6:15 a.m.

Polls are opening across Illinois in a primary that is being widely watched because of the money being spent in the governor’s race.

Among the leading Democrats in Tuesday’s primary is billionaire J.B. Pritzker, who has put almost $70 million into his campaign fund already. Democrat Chris Kennedy has about $2 million in his. State Sen. Daniel Biss is campaigning as the “middle-class candidate.”

The Democrats are looking to unseat wealthy Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in November. He is being challenged by conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives.

Illinois State Board of Elections data show the number of voters casting early ballots for the Illinois primary has far exceeded the number who voted early four years ago.

Voters are also choosing nominees for the U.S. House, attorney general and other races.


11:20 p.m.

Illinois voters are choosing nominees in what’s shaping up to be the most expensive election for governor in U.S. history.

Two inordinately wealthy front-runners — Republican millionaire Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker — are trying to survive tough primaries. A self-described “middle class candidate,” a member of a famous political family and an insurgent state legislator also are on the primary ballot.

Pritzker has already poured nearly $70 million of his own money into the race. Chasing him are businessman Chris Kennedy — son of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy — and state Sen. Daniel Biss, who touts his middle-class status.

Rauner has spent more than $50 million from his own funds. He has his own GOP challenge from state Rep. Jeanne Ives.

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