News Local/State

Illinois Delegation Gets Moment In Spotlight

The Illinois sign at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The Illinois sign at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

The Illinois Democratic Party got 90 seconds in the national spotlight Tuesday, as delegates officially cast their votes for the party's nominee for president. Tony Arnold and Lauren Chooljian take us into the arena for that state-by-state roll call vote.

Each state only gets a little time to announce the results of their primary.  So state representatives try to quickly say something unique about their state.

Or, in the case of Illinois - where the state’s Democratic priorities are.

Illinois Democratic Party chairman Michael Madigan began the announcement.

"For the great state of Illinois, home of President Barack Obama, home of the United States Senator Dick Durbin, home of the next United States Senator Tammy Durkworth."

Duckworth is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Mark Kirk.

And then Madigan did something unique.

He passed the mic to Clem Balanoff, a leader in Bernie Sanders’ Illinois campaign.

"Illinois proudly casts for a true progressive and the father of the new political revolution, 74 votes for Bernie Sanders."

Betsy Eberling grew up with Hillary Clinton in suburban Chicago, and got to announce the Illinois delegation's votes for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

Photo Credit: Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

Then the mic went to Betsy Eberling, who got to formally cast the votes for Hillary Clinton.

Eberling grew up with Clinton in northwest suburban Park Ridge.

"On this historic wonderful day, in honor of Dorothy and Hugh’s daughter and my sweet friend, I know you’re watching, this one’s for you, Hill - 98 votes. Yes!"

Afterward, Eberling told reporters what it's like to grow up with someone, and then nominate that person for president.

"It’s incredible. I think we always kind of knew that she was very special. Everybody knew that. But this is just beyond our dreams."

And for Balanoff, he says his chance to personally announce the votes for Sanders is more than a symbolic show of party unity.

"It sends the right message to our delegates and, I hope, to delegates across this country. We have to defeat Donald Trump. We have to elect Hillary Clinton."

Just off the convention floor, in a hallway in the stadium Billionaire and Democratic fundraiser JB Pritzker says he was overwhelmed by how emotional the roll call was.

"I’ve been involved with trying to get her elected president for 9 years at least and so you know it’s hard to be on the losing end as we were 8 years ago but we all came together to support Barack Obama for president."

And given that experience - Pritzker says he has a good sense of how Sanders supporters are feeling right now.

"It doesn’t take a day, it doesn’t take a week. There’s a bit of a grieving process for sure that people go through."

Pritzker says he’s really proud to be a member of a state delegation whose leaders are united behind Hillary Clinton.