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Illinois Primary Results: Hillary Clinton Narrowly Defeats Bernie Sanders

By  Heather Cherone Ted Cox and Paul Biasco | March 15, 2016 6:32pm | Updated on March 15, 2016 11:27pm

  Hillary Clinton  worked Tuesday to hold off a surging  Bernie Sanders  as the Illinois Democratic primary put her in a tougher spot than originally predicted. 
Election Day in Chicago
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DOWNTOWN — Hillary Clinton won Florida, Ohio and North Carolina Tuesday and held off a surging Bernie Sanders in Illinois, based on unofficial results.

After all of the votes were counted at 11:30 p.m., Clinton declared victory over Sanders by approximately 2 percent, according to election results. 

The first indication that Illinois was not going to be a cakewalk for Clinton when polls Monday showed her  enormous early lead in the polls over Sanders had fizzled out.

Clinton said earlier Tuesday her victories in the swing states of Ohio and Florida put her on the path to securing the Democratic nomination.

On the Republican ballot, businessman and reality television star Donald Trump defeated Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz winning approximately 40 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

  Hillary Clinton  won Florida, Ohio and North Carolina Tuesday as her supporters watched anxiously to see if she would hold off a surging  Bernie Sanders  in Illinois, based on unofficial results.
Hillary Clinton's Lead Over Bernie Shrinks
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As predicted, Trump won Florida, Rubio's home state. Rubio suspended his campaign, acknowledging that his bid for the White House was over.

However, Kasich won his home state of Ohio, ensuring that the fight for the Republican nomination will continue.

On Chicago's Far South Side, voters said they were attracted by Trump's promise to end political gridlock.

"I've never voted for a Republican ever," said Ryan Graves, of Mt. Greenwood. "I've been a Democratic precinct captain for 10 years. I like Trump. He's got that mystique."

The number of Democratic ballot cast this year in Chicago was higher than in 2008, when President Barack Obama was on the ballot.

The number of Republican ballots cast in Illinois will exceed the 47,738 cast during the 2012 election. Republican turnout was just shy that number, with more than half of precincts reporting in Chicago as of 8 p.m., according to unofficial election results.

Although Edgewater native Clinton — who grew up in Park Ridge near the city's Far Northwest Side — had expected to win her home state handily, she left nothing to chance, sending her husband former President Bill Clinton to campaign Tuesday on the South and West Sides of the city.

Clinton supporters said they were optimistic that she would hold off a surge from Sanders.

"I think she's the most qualified," said Denise Trahe, Lincoln Park. "And I think it's important to put somebody in office who's not gonna turn the clock back 60 years."

Sanders, the senator from Vermont, rallied a standing-room only crowd Monday at Roosevelt University's Auditorium theater and sought to turn the campaign into a referendum on Emanuel's tenure in office, saying he did not want the mayor's endorsement.

On Tuesday, the mood was low at Sanders' party as Clinton racked up victories across the country, extending her lead in the all-important delegate count.

"I'm nervous," said 22-year-old Markel Brackett. "I really don't know how to feel if it turns south for Bernie."

However, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia told the Sanders' campaign party that the insurgent candidate would continue to fight for the Democratic nomination.

The primary election in Missouri remained too close to call late Tuesday, based on unofficial reports.

The effort to link Clinton with embattled Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who got his start on the national political stage in her husband's White House — filled the skies Tuesday with banners linking the two politicians, who haven't been seen in months.

Emanuel — labeled "politically toxic" by some pundits — saw his approval crater particularly among African American Chicagoans — after he was forced by a judge to release a dashcam video showing a police officer fatally shoot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times.

State's Attorney

The McDonald case torpedoed Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's bid for re-election.

Former Assistant State's Attorney Kim Foxx's campaign for the office's top job focused on the widespread outrage generated by Alvarez' decision to wait nearly 400 days to charge Police Officer Jason Van Dyke with McDonald's murder, despite a video that shows the teen posed no threat to officers.

Former federal prosecutor Donna More finished third.

Clerk of the Circuit Court

Clerk of Cook County Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, who has held the office for 16 years, led her opponents Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) and attorney Jacob Meister, winning 49 percent of the vote with two-thirds of the ballots counted, according to unofficial results.

U.S. Senate

The race to pick Democratic and Republican nominees for the United States Senate ended early.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth defeated former Chicago school board member Andrea Zopp of Morgan Park and former professional football player and State Sen. Napoleon Harris, according to unofficial results.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk had no significant opposition for the Republican nomination, and will face Duckworth in November, in a race expected to be one of the most expensive 2016 senatorial races.

U.S. House

With the Illinois Democratic Party firmly in control of the state's congressional delegation, all but three of the contests for Illinois' seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are uncontested.

In the 1st Congressional District: U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush appeared to defeat Ald. Howard Brookins (21st). , Rush won 76 percent of the vote, with 98 percent of the vote counted, according to unofficial returns.

On the Republican ballot, August (O'Neill) Deuser led Jimmy Lee Tillman II with 58 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

In the 7th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis defeated Iraq veteran Thomas Day, winning 82 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

In the 4th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez defeated Javier Salas, winning 75 percent of the vote.

Illinois General Assembly

The outcome of several races in the Democratic primary could determine how much longer Springfield remains locked in a war between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

In the 2nd District of the Illinois House, Theresa Mah defeated Alexander "Alex" Acevedo with 51 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

In the 4th District, Cynthia Soto defeated Robert "Bob Z" Zwolinski, winning 80 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Zwolinski claimed to have been attacked by volunteers putting up posters for Soto in an incident that a lawyer for the unpaid campaign workers described "a media stunt."

In the 5th Illinois House District, Juliana Stratton defeated embattled Democratic State Rep. Ken Dunkin, winning 68 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

In the 6th District, Sonya Marie Harper led with 33 percent of the vote, while Darryl D. Smith had 25 percent, Kenyatta Nicole Vaughn had 20 percent and Genita V. Robinson had 23 percent, according to unofficial results.

In the 15th District race, State Rep. John D'Amico led Jac Charlier by 10 percent, with 98 percent of the vote counted, according to unofficial results.

In the 26th District race, Christian Mitchell led Jhatayn "Jay" Travis by 12 percent, with 95 percent of the vote counted, according to unofficial results.

In the 29th District, Thaddeus Jones defeated Wilbur "Will" Tilman and Kenneth "Kenny" Williams, winning 58 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

State Rep. Jaime Andrade defeated Harish Patel to win re-election to the General Assembly representing the 40th District in the Illinois House with 60 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election returns.

In the 2nd Illinois Senate District, Omar Aquino led Angelica Alfaro, winning 53 percent with 98 percent of the vote counted, according to unofficial election returns.

In the 5th Illinois Senate District, State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt defeated former Ald. Bob Fioretti, winning 68 percent with approximately 97 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election returns.

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