It’s no secret that local Democrats are energized heading into Tuesday’s primary election. Early voting tallies are showing just how energized they may be.
As of Friday morning, nearly 2,200 voters had cast early ballots in McLean County, including city of Bloomington voters, officials said. Of those, 59 percent have taken Democratic ballots—a big increase from past Democratic turnout in local primaries. (These numbers include totals from both the county clerk and Bloomington Election Commission.)
By comparison, just 13.5 percent of all McLean County voters took a Democratic ballot during the 2014 primary. In the 2016 primary—in the middle of a hotly contested presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders—only 40 percent of voters pulled Democratic ballots.
A higher turnout among Democrats was expected this year, especially given the increased number of Democratic candidates on the ballot. Republican incumbents will face challengers on many fronts in November, both from first-time Democratic candidates as well as Libertarians, who are on the ballot for the first time in McLean County.
McLean County has historically been a Republican area. Republicans hold a 15-to-5 majority on the McLean County Board. Every locally elected state lawmaker is a Republican, including the Illinois Senate minority leader. Every countywide elected official is a Republican. Even in a county with four colleges, President Donald Trump still won here.
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