Preliminary results from the 2022 Democratic primaries show that Hyde Park-Kenwood voters did not support the big contest’s winner.
Jonathan Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, won the 1st District congressional primary to replace Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), though he placed fourth among area voters. State Sen. Jacqui Collins (D-16th) won a plurality of the area’s vote in the 17-candidate race, though she placed fourth overall. Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) followed her, coming in second locally and overall.
As it stands, Rush’s endorsee, former Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership CEO Karin Norington-Reaves, slightly bested Jackson for third place.
Nevertheless, the scattershot nature of the heavily contested primary was on full display among the Hyde Park-Kenwood electorate’s votes: none of the candidates won more than a quarter of the local vote, and Jackson appears to have punched his ticket to Washington with less than 30% of the overall vote.
Hyde Park-Kenwood voters diverging from the rest of the district happens from time to time, such as in Barack Obama’s 1st District congressional run in 2000, and Toni Preckwinkle’s mayoral run in 2019. The district, newly redrawn after the 2020 census, stretches from Bronzeville to Kankakee.
Collins was the left’s standard-bearer in the primary. Local state Sen. Robert Peters (D-13th) co-chaired her campaign, and Hyde Parker Jacky Grimshaw, an aide and confidant of Mayor Harold Washington, endorsed her campaign, but she suffered from poor online visibility. Dowell performed well in her ward, but Jackson’s name recognition paid off, especially in the South Side’s southernmost neighborhoods, such as Chatham and Roseland, where he received more than 30% of the vote.
Collins, in a statement, thanked her supporters and congratulated Jackson, though she decried "money (playing) such an important role in this race;" a reference to the more than $1 million in advertising spending in support of Jackson’s campaign by three PAC's tied to the cryptocurrency industry in the weeks leading up to Election Day. In her statement, Collins urged newly elected congressional Democrats to reverse the Supreme Court-imposed prohibition of restrictions on corporations being able to independently spend on political campaigns.
"This campaign has been about the pursuit of justice for our communities," she said. "It’s been about protecting choice, real gun reform that doesn’t compromise our safety, eliminating student debt, 'Medicare for All,' creating jobs with a living wage, and campaign finance reform."
Local voters did support the Democratic victor in the secretary of state primary: former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias appears to have won about half of the area’s vote, roughly the same as his statewide majority win. City Clerk Anna Valencia received about a third of the statewide and local vote, though South Side Ald. David Moore (17th) did a little better among local voters than his 9% total across Illinois.
State Rep. Curtis J. Tarver II (D-25th) won his primary commandingly over South Shore businessman Josef Michael Carr, raking in more than 70% of the vote district-wide and in Hyde Park-Kenwood.
Turnout in the Democratic primary dropped dramatically from the last midterm primary, in March 2018, when around half of registered voters in Hyde Park-Kenwood cast ballots. This year, only around 30% did. In one precinct — the 5th Ward’s 41st, which comprises the 1700 E. 56th Street condominium building — did a majority of voters cast ballots.