by Patrick Wohl
University of Illinois Press, 2024
eISBN: 978-0-252-05509-6 | Paper: 978-0-252-08758-5 | Cloth: 978-0-252-04547-9
Library of Congress Classification JK5793 1990
Dewey Decimal Classification 324.6509773

When an obscure primary election met the culture wars

In 1990, a suburban Chicago race for the Republican Party nomination for state representative unexpectedly became a national proxy battle over abortion in the United States. But the hard-fought primary also illustrated the overlooked importance of down-ballot contests in America’s culture wars. Patrick Wohl offers the dramatic account of a rollercoaster campaign that, after attracting political celebrities and a media circus, came down to thirty-one votes, a coin toss to determine the winner, and a recount fight that set a precedent for how to count dimpled chads. As the story unfolds, Wohl provides a rare nuts-and-bolts look at an election for state office from its first days through the Illinois Supreme Court decision that decided the winner--and set the stage for a decisive 1992 rematch.

A compelling political page-turner, Down Ballot takes readers behind the scenes of a legendary Illinois election.

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