Democratic Party of Illinois

Last updated
Democratic Party of Illinois
Chairperson Elizabeth Hernandez
Governor J.B. Pritzker
Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton
Senate President Don Harmon
House Speaker Chris Welch
Headquarters Springfield, Illinois
Ideology Centrism
Modern liberalism
Political position Center to center-right
National affiliation Democratic Party
Colors  Blue
Statewide Executive Offices
6 / 6
Seats in the U.S. Senate
2 / 2
Seats in the U.S. House of Representatives
13 / 18
Seats in the Illinois Senate
41 / 59
Seats in the Illinois House of Representatives
73 / 118

The Democratic Party of Illinois is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the oldest extant state party in Illinois and one of just two recognized parties in the state, along with the Republican Party. It is currently the dominant party in the state, controlling the majority of Illinois' U.S. House seats, both U.S. Senate seats, both houses of the state legislature, and the governorship.



President Barack Obama (2009-2017) President Barack Obama.jpg
President Barack Obama (2009–2017)

The Democratic Party of Illinois took shape during the late 1830s. Prior to that time, Illinois did not have organized political parties; instead, political competition in the state was more personalist, with prominent factions centered on Governors Ninian Edwards and Shadrach Bond. As the Democratic and Whig parties began to form at the national level during the late 1820s and 1830s, Illinois politicians began sorting themselves accordingly and, in the summer of 1837, leading Democrats met to lay the groundwork for a Democratic Party organization in the state.

Before 2010, the party had been extremely successful in statewide elections for the past decade. In 1992, Carol Moseley Braun became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Her election marked the first time Illinois had elected a woman, and the first time a Black person was elected as a Democratic Party candidate to the United States Senate. A second African American Democratic Senator, Barack Obama was elected in 2004 (the same seat that Senator Moseley-Braun once held), and later elected President of the United States in 2008. Democrats currently hold supermajorities in both the Illinois Senate and Illinois House of Representatives.

Organization and leadership

The Democratic Party of Illinois is run by a Democratic State Central Committee of 38 members, two from each of the state's 19 congressional districts. The Central Committee has four officers: a chairman, a vice-chair, a secretary, and a treasurer.

Calvin Sutker of Skokie served as state party chairman until 1986 when he lost his committeeman seat to reform Democrat Jeffrey Paul Smith. [1] Sutker was succeeded by Vince Demuzio, who served from 1986 to 1990 and is credited with rebuilding the Illinois Democratic Party. [2] Demuzio was then defeated by Gary LaPaille, then-chief of staff for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan himself succeeded LaPaille, serving in the role until he stepped down in 2021. He was succeeded by U.S. Representative Robin Kelly. In 2022, Kelly was replaced by State Representative Lisa Hernandez.

Cook County Democratic Party

The Cook County Democratic Party represents voters in 50 wards in the city of Chicago and 30 suburban townships of Cook County. It relies on a organizational structure of ward and township committeemen to elect candidates.

Current elected officials

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

Democrats have controlled both of Illinois's seats in the U.S. Senate since 2016:

U.S. House of Representatives

Out of the 18 seats Illinois is apportioned in the U.S. House of Representatives, 13 are held by Democrats:

Illinois Democrats in House of Representatives
1st Bobby Rush
Bobby Rush official portrait (cropped).jpg
2nd Robin Kelly
Rep. Robin Kelly, 117th Congress (cropped).jpg
3rd Marie Newman
Marie Newman Official Portrait (cropped).jpg
4th Jesús "Chuy" García
Chuy Garcia official portrait (cropped).jpg
5th Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley official photo (cropped 2).jpg
6th Sean Casten
Sean Casten, official portrait, 116th Congress (cropped).jpg
7th Danny K. Davis
DannyKDavis113th (cropped).jpg
8th Raja Krishnamoorthi
Raja Krishnamoorthi official photo (cropped).jpg
9th Jan Schakowsky
Jan Schakowsky official photo (cropped).jpg
10th Brad Schneider
Brad Schneider official photo (cropped).jpg
11th Bill Foster
Bill Foster, Official Portrait, 113th Congress (cropped).jpg
14th Lauren Underwood
Lauren Underwood official portrait (cropped).jpg
17th Cheri Bustos
Cheri Bustos official photo (cropped).jpg

Statewide officials

Democrats control all six of the elected statewide offices:

State legislative leaders

See also

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  1. Wingert, Pat (1986-03-20). "Stunned Democrats Agonize on LaMess". Chicago Tribune. pp. 3 (Chicagoland, Sec. C).
  2. Illinois Secretary of State (2005). 2005-2006 Illinois Handbook of Government (PDF). p. 51.