When the music stopped on Election Night, only one of the 177 seats in the Illinois General Assembly switched parties. That would be the one held by State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who lost to Neil Anderson. The Democrats will hold 71 of the 118 seats in the House and 39 of the 59 in the Senate. State House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) credits talent and hard work.
“I think what you have is a bunch of hard-working people who were able to connect well with their constituents,” she says, “and we also have people working with us who have been-there-done-that; (who) know how to put together a campaign (and) know how to make sure that the vote comes out.”
As for that 71-member “supermajority” which, if deployed, could override a governor's veto, all you have to do is look to State Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) to give the lie to that concept.
“I can tell you on a number of occasions last year … the speaker was unable to wield it to go with what he needed,” says Franks. “For instance, there was a number of us who wouldn't go forward with the (proposed) millionaires' tax. A number of us in the caucus, as well, wouldn't go forward with the progressive (income) tax.”
Franks points to two other Democrats known to be mavericks, at least on occasion: State Reps. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) and Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills).