Chicago Tribune Michael Hawthorne is covering a key congressional race this election cycle. State records show he has voted in three Democrat primaries and none for Republicans. | Youtube
If Illinois' political journalists were the only ones voting on Tuesday, J.B. Pritzker, Mike Madigan and the rest of the state's Democrats would win in a landslide.
Chicago City Wire analysis of the primary voting records of 100 leading Illinois political journalists found that 93 percent of the primary votes they've collectively cast have been for Democrats, versus just seven percent for Republicans.
All told, out of 424 total primary votes recorded by the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE), 395 of them were for Democrats.
In the March 2018 primary, 57 of the 100 journalists reviewed voted in the Democrat primary. One, Fox 32 Political Editor Mike Flannery, voted in the Republican one.
Of the 100 journalist voting records analyzed, 79 had cast more Democrat ballots than Republican ones and 18 recorded no primary votes. One journalist cast an equal number of Democrat and Republican ballots, and two cast more ballots for Republicans than Democrats.
Those two are Capitol Fax's Rich Miller (5 GOP / 4 DEM) and Doug Finke, a veteran reporter of the Springfield State Journal-Register (1 / 0).
Miller, who founded the popular Capitol Fax newsletter in 1993, voted in Democrat primaries in 1994, 1996 and 1998, then Republican ones in 2000, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 before pulling a Democrat primary ballot again this past March.
Finke has cast one primary ballot since 1992, in a four-way 2006 Republican primary that included State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, Jim Oberweis, Bill Brady and Ron Gidwitz. Topinka won 38 percent of the primary vote before falling to incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich in the general election.
16 to 0
Democrat-voting journalists have showed considerably more commitment.
Chicago Sun-Times Political Editor Scott Fornek and Crain's Chicago Business Political Writer Greg Hinz have both voted in 16 Democrat primaries and zero for Republicans.
CBS 2 Chicago's Derrick Blakley has voted in nine Democrat primaries and one Republican one (2014). Fox 32's Flannery has voted Democrat eleven times and Republican just once, in March. NBC 5's Carol Marin and her longtime partner-producer Don Moseley have voted in a combined 26 Democrat primaries versus three Republican.
All 19 journalists at the Chicago Sun-Times analyzed voted only Democrat, including Fornek, Editor-in-Chief Chris Fusco, political columnist Dan Mihalopoulos and state politics beat reporter Tina Sfondeles; none have voted in a Republican primary.
All nine journalists at Crain's Chicago Business analyzed voted only Democrat, including Hinz, newly-hired publisher Jim Kirk, editor Michael Arndt and senior reporter Lynne Marek.
The Chicago Tribune's City Hall reporter John Byrne has voted in six Democrat primaries and no Republican ones. Reporter David Heinzmann has voted four times for Democrats, never for Republicans.
"Environment and public health" reporter Michael Hawthorne, who has reported frequently, and critically, this election cycle on U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), has voted in three Democrat primaries and none for Republicans.
Rick Pearson, the longtime Chicago Tribune chief political reporter, has no primary voting record. His wife, Margaret, works for Democrat Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Dave McKinney, the former Chicago Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief who currently covers state politics for WBEZ radio in Chicago, also has no primary voting record. His wife, Ann Liston, is a Democrat political consultant working this cycle for House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago) and Democrat Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios. She has voted in six of six Democrat primaries.
Pro Publica Illinois has hired several veteran Chicago journalists over the past year. All are regular Democrat voters, ISBE records show, including Jason Grotto (formerly of the Chicago Tribune), Jodi S. Cohen (Chicago Tribune), Louise Kiernan (Chicago Tribune), Steve Mills (Chicago Tribune) and Mick Dumke (Chicago Sun-Times).
The editor of the Politico Illinois Playbook, Shia Kapos, formerly of Crain's Chicago Business, has voted in six Democrat primaries and no Republican ones. Her assistant, Adrienne Hurst, is also a Democrat voter, as is Kapos' predecessor and now Barrington-based political writer Natasha Korecki.
Korecki has voted in four Democrat primaries and one Republican one.
Staff at the "non-partisan" Better Government Association (BGA) includes no Republicans and nine Democrats, including Chief Executive David Greising of Evanston, formerly chief business correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. He has voted in seven Democrat primaries and none for Republicans.
BGA reporter Brett Chase, formerly a Crain's reporter and the wife of Rahm Emanuel communications executive Tammy Chase, has voted in six Democrat primaries and none for Republicans. He has written the BGA's "Politifact Truth-O-Meter" series, where he "fact checks" claims by politicians.
Other recent BGA hires include former Chicago Tribune Reporters David Kidwell (2 DEM/0 GOP) and Bob Secter (4 DEM, 0 GOP), who served as its Illinois political editor from 1995-2005.
How do your favorite Illinois political journalists vote in primary elections?
Chicago City Wire analyzed the voting records of 100 of the state's top politics and government journalists to test the conventional wisdom. Are they really Democrat-leaning?
|Craig Wall||46||ABC 7||0||0||0|
|Robert H. Secter||67||BGA||4||0||4|
|Rich Miller||56||Capitol Fax||4||5||9|
|Derrick Blakley||64||CBS 2||10||1||11|
|Mark L. Brown||63||Sun-Times||12||0||12|
|Maudlyne I. Ihejirka||54||Sun-Times||5||0||5|
|Mitchell R. Dudek||38||Sun-Times||3||0||3|
|John P. McCormick||68||Tribune||7||2||9|
|Patrick M. O'Connell||41||Tribune||2||1||3|
|Bettina Chang||29||City Bureau||1||0||1|
|Frank R. Sennett||50||Crain's||2||0||2|
|Michael D. Arndt||62||Crain's||5||0||5|
|Michael J. Flannery||67||FOX 32||11||1||12|
|Carol Marin||70||NBC 5||14||2||16|
|Don Moseley||67||NBC 5||13||1||14|
|Brian Mackey||41||NPR Illinois||0||0||0|
|Dusty Rhodes||56||NPR Illinois||0||0||0|
|Rachel Otwell||30||NPR Illinois||0||0||0|
|Ryan Denham||34||NPR Illinois||2||0||2|
|Jodi S. Cohen||42||ProPublica||8||0||8|
|Bernie Schoenberg||64||State Journal-Register||0||0||0|
|Doug Finke||65||State Journal-Register||0||1||1|
|Hannah Meisel||27||Daily Line||0||0||0|
|Heather Cherone||40||Daily Line||2||0||2|
|Brent McDonald||40||NY Times||1||0||1|
|Julie Bosman||39||NY Times||1||0||1|
|Monica Davey||54||NY Times||3||0||3|
|Robert Chiarito||44||NY Times||3||1||4|
|Patrick K. Smith||32||WBEZ||1||0||1|
Source: Illinois State Board of Elections