U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigns in wake of elections
Democrats claimed victory over Republicans in the Nov. 7 elections, winning more seats in the U.S. Senate (21-9), U.S. House of Representatives (234-201) and governors offices (20-16) for a combined 275-226.
Most notably, for the remainder of his term, President George W. Bush will face a U.S. House controlled by the opposing Democratic Partyby a 234-201 margin.
Additionally, with the Virginia U.S. Senate seat being declared too close to call as of Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 8, the Democrats still stand a chance of leveling the playing ground in the Senate. The balance in the U.S. Senate stands at 49 Republicans, 48 Democrats and two Independents. A recount is possible in the Virginia race, so it could be some time before the race is settled.
Ramifications of the apparent Republican backlash were felt early Nov. 8, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigned in the wake of the elections. Robert Gates, former head of the CIA under former President George H.W. Bush, has been chosen to replace Rumsfeld, although he must first be confirmed by Congress.
Shortly before the Nov. 7 election, President George W. Bush, faced with waning support for the war in Iraq, said Rumsfeld, 74, would remain as Secretary of Defense for the course of his second term in the White House.
In the governors races, Democrats claimed 20 of 36 open seats, tipping the balance in favor of the Democratic Party for the first time in 12 years, with 28 states controlled by Democrats and 22 controlled by Republicans.
In one of the most controversial and heated races on the national scene, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) was defeated by Ted Strickland (D) in the bid for Ohio governor. Blackwell was Secretary of State in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election, when the key battleground state delivered the deciding votes needed to get President George W. Bush a second term. As reported by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his Rolling Stone investigative article Was the 2004 Election Stolen?, viewable at http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen, more than 350,000 voters in Ohio were prevented from casting ballots in the 2004 election. Blackwell also lost his position as Secretary of State, as Democrat Jennifer Brunner claimed the office and will serve as chief elections officer during the 2008 presidential election.
In Illinois, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich (D) defeated challengers State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R) and Springfield attorney Rich Whitney (G) with Blagojevich claiming 49.55 percent, Baar Topinka 39.99 percent and Whitney 10.46 percent. The 49-year-old Blagojevich faces a second term with federal investigations and indictments looming.
Joining Blagojevich in Springfield will be fellow Democrats Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), who claimed re-election over Stewart Umholtz (R) and David Black (G); Secretary of State Jesse White (D), who won re-election over Dan Rutherford (R) and Karen Peterson (G); Comptroller Daniel Hynes (D), who won re-election over Carole Pankau (R) and Alicia Snyder (G); and Alex Giannoulias (D), who claimed victory over Christine Radogno (R) and Dan Schlorff (G) in the race for State Treasurer.
Locally, the race for governor was much closer than the statewide race. Blagojevich claimed 38.43 percent, Baar Topinka 35.03 percent and Whitney 23.66 percent in Winnebago County.
Meantime, U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R) won re-election over challengers Dick Auman (D) and write-in candidate John Borling (I), and State Sen. Dave Syverson (R) won re-election over challenger Dan Lewandowski (D) in what ranked as the third most expensive race in the state.
State Sen. Todd Sieben (R) and State Reps. Chuck Jefferson (D), Dave Winters (R), Ronald Wait (R) and Jim Sacia (R) all won re-election.
In Winnebago County, Margie Mullins (D) claimed County Clerk, Susan Goral (D) County Treasurer and Dick Meyers (D) County Sheriff. Additionally, the following won their races for seats on the Winnebago County Board: Randy Olson (R), Tom Owens (R), Dave Yeske (R), Doug Aurand (D), Dave Fiduccia (R), Paul Gorski (D), Pearl Hawks (D), Angie Goral (D), Ray Graceffa (R), Melvin Paris (D), Mary Ann Aiello (R), John Ekberg (R), Bob Hastings (D), Frank Gambino (R) and John F. Sweeney (R).
Ed Prochaska (R) defeated Gwyn Gulley (D) for the open 17th Judicial Circuit Court judgeship, while voters retained 17th Circuit Court judges Frederick Kapala and Timothy R. Gill.
Voters also voted for the extension of the Rockford Public School District 205 tax rate and the implementation of a Harlem Township public smoking ban.
To view complete election results from the Nov. 7 elections in the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, click on the following links:
City of Rockford results:
Winnebago County results:
If you have difficulty accessing these links, or for more information about the elections, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections at www.elections.state.il.us, the Rockford Board of Election Commissioners Web site at www.voterockford.com or the Winnebago County Clerks Web site at www.winnebagocountyclerk.com.
Read the Nov. 15-21, 2006, issue of The Rock River Times for complete election coverage and analysis.
From the Nov. 8-14, 2006, issue