All but one of 16 Illinois lawmakers who voted to support last year’s transportation investment measure and faced a March 17 primary opponent won their contest and will move on to the November general election, according to analysis of primary election returns from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Investment Advocacy Center (ARTBA-TIAC).
In addition to the fifteen lawmakers who won their race, there were 72 legislators who voted for the bill and faced no opposition in their contest. The success rate is consistent with the results of thousands of races ARTBA-TIAC has tracked since 2013: supporting an increase in the gas tax to fund transportation investment seldom hurts state politicians.
Primary contests have particular relevance when monitoring whether transportation investment supporters are drawing in-party opposition. ARTBA-TIAC is tracking more than 300 state lawmakers in three states through the primaries and the Nov. 3 General Election.
An all-new interactive dashboard that filters results by state, party, year and bill vote are available at the Center’s flagship website: www.transportationinvestment.org.
Of the lawmakers in Illinois who voted to support a 2019 state gas tax increase and ran for reelection:
• 87 of 88 legislators who voted yes won their primary. Only 16 faced opposition, and nearly all— 15 legislators— won their race.
• All 26 legislators who voted against the transportation revenue package won their primary. One overcame primary opposition to win their race.
These trends continued across party lines.
• 18 Republican legislators supported their state’s gas tax measure and ran for reelection, of which three faced primary challenges and all won their race. The 18 Republican lawmakers who voted against the measure and ran for reelection also advanced.
• 70 Democratic legislators supported their state’s gas tax measure and for reelection, of which 13 faced primary challenges and 12 won their contest. The eight Democratic lawmakers who voted against the measure and ran for reelection also advanced.
“Support of last year’s historic transportation investment legislation was a win for every Illinois House incumbent – Democrat and Republican,” said Mike Sturino, President and CEO of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association.
“A vote for new transportation revenues was not a factor for the one House member who lost his primary bid,” added Sturino. “It’s plain to see that supporting transportation funding in Illinois turned out to be a winner for incumbents.”
The March 3 primary in Arkansas yielded similar results, ARTBA-TIAC found. Five of six Arkansas state lawmakers who supported last year’s gas tax increase and faced primary opposition won their race, and 68 transportation investment supporters faced no opposition in their contest.
Additionally, ARTBA-TIAC will be tracking primary results in Ohio later this year.
ARTBA-TIAC has tracked over 3,300 state lawmakers who voted on legislation to increase the gas tax since 2013. Ninety-two percent of lawmakers who voted for a gas tax and stood for reelection were returned back to the state house by voters, the same percentage as lawmakers who voted against a gas tax increase.
Join ARTBA-TIAC after the Nov. 3 General Election for an in-depth analysis of total reelection rates from 2013 through 2020.