Today, petitions started circulating in Illinois for candidates to be on the ballot in November 2022. A grueling process throughout the Midwestern winter,  petition circulation has been known to be a dog-eat-dog process, fraught with accusations of fraud, fake signatures, and more. Almost every cycle, many candidates challenge the petitions collected by their opponents to soak up resources and time of their competitors.

But as petition circulation gets underway, the real story are the competitors and the candidates running for office. This year, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is running for reelection along with many of the constitutional officers who were elected with him in 2018 like Comptroller Susanna Mendoza and Treasurer Michael Frerichs (seeking his 3rd term). One constitutional officer is retiring, however, setting up a competitive primary on both sides of the aisle and what should be a very competitive general election.

Secretary of State Jesse White’s retirement has set the stage for a 4-way (as of this writing) Democrat primary. Frontrunners are former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, both of whom have received influential endorsements from Democrat leaders in the state. The other two candidates are both Chicago Alderpeople, David Moore and Pat Dowell.

On the Republican side of the race, there are 2 candidates: former US Attorney John Milhiser and State Rep. Dan Brady. Both candidates are well respected and renowned for their integrity, a key quality as the Secretary of State’s office has been a traditional focal point of the corruption the state is known for.

Republicans will also be running candidates for each of the other Constitutional offices. For Treasurer, State Rep. Tom Demmer announced this past Tuesday, and on Wednesday, McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi announced she would be running for Comptroller. And this morning, attorney Steve Kim announced a campaign for Attorney General against incumbent Kwame Raoul.

There’s a lot of speculation surrounding the Republican side of the Governor’s race as Gary Rabine, Jesse Sullivan, and Darren Bailey have all announced runs, with more expected to join the fray.

It’s set to be an interesting year in Illinois politics as Democrats across the country battle historical precedent in a midterm and underperforming approval numbers after a continued year of inflation and COVID variants. What happens in the next 6 months could have a major impact on the outcome of elections up and down the ballot.

Only time will tell.