2012: A whirlwind year for Illinois politics, not over yet - New York News

2012: A whirlwind year for Illinois politics, not over yet

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

From President Obama's re-election to the fall from grace surrounding former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., 2012 has been a whirlwind year for national and state politics.

The first president from Chicago won re-election to a second term, after an extraordinarily negative campaign that broke every record for political spending.

While it guaranteed Barack Obama an even larger place in American history, Mayor Emanuel and Gov. Quinn hoped it might also bring a larger share of federal dollars, especially for roads and transit.

A South Side congressman who had been an honorary co-chair of the president's 2008 campaign also won re-election, then resigned a few weeks later.

In a written statement, Jesse Jackson, Jr., confirmed he was negotiating with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to criminal charges. Their investigation reportedly included the improper spending of campaign money to rehab his home in South Shore.

With a special primary election to replace Jackson scheduled for Feb. 26, at least 17 potential candidates have expressed interest.

Wounded Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth' victory over Tea Party Republican Rep. Joe Walsh symbolized a Democratic sweep of Illinois's closely-contested Congressional races.

Aided by a new district map drawn by their party, the party flipped four GOP-held seats. In this area, Naperville Democrat Bill Foster ousted veteran Hinsdale Congresswoman Judy Biggert; and Deerfield Democrat Brad Schneider defeated Kenilworth freshman Robert Dold.

Even before all of 2012's votes were counted, maneuvering had already begun in advance of the gubernatorial election in 2014.

Gov. Quinn's worst-in-the-nation job approval numbers have a half-dozen Republicans considering a run, as well as several Democrats. Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, who's wanted to run for governor for a decade, appears far more serious this time.

With the filing deadline for the 2014 party primaries barely a year away, candidates must start now on fundraising and hiring key staff.

A final substantial issue is Illinois's worst-in-the-nation state debt and soaring taxes. Several potential Republican candidates said they'd campaign on a promise not to renew the state's recent 67 percent income tax increase, when it expires on Jan. 1, 2015.

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