Martwick on trajectory to be elected senator vs. O’Toole but mail-in ballots not counted
by CYRYL JAKUBOWSKI
Appointed state senator Robert Martwick is on the trajectory to become the elected state senator in the 10th Illinois Senate District against Chicago Police Department sergeant Daniel “Danny” O’Toole after the March 17 primary election.
With 50 of 51 precincts in suburban Cook County and all of Chicago precincts reporting, Martwick received 15,321 votes, or 53.7 percent, and O’Toole received 13,116 votes, or 46.3 percent, of the votes cast, according to unofficial election results.
Martwick said that he felt good about his lead against O’Toole but he did say that due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, there were still a large number of mail-in ballots in Illinois and some of those results may not be counted for several days.
“Early voting and mail-in ballots have not been counted but we feel that those results will be similar to those we got tonight,” Martwick said on election night. “We were at the mailbox and on the Internet and many early voters follow politics closely and I think we’ll have good results.
“There is no denying that everything is developing so quickly (with the pandemic),” Martwick said. “There was a fear of the unknown (on Election Day) because this was not a traditional election. I had a whole team ready to go but I encouraged them to stay home because I care about their safety.” He said that he doesn’t know whether it was a good idea or a bad idea to still hold the election during a pandemic, “but if people don’t start staying at home then the contagion rate will be blowing up.
“However, I’m still hopeful about, you know, flattening the curve, because the American people are a resilient people, but we have to do a better job because from what we’re seeing, it doesn’t look good. Stay home,” Martwick said. He was referring to large numbers of people celebrating in bars on Saint Patrick’s Day weekend despite Governor J.B. Pritzker’s plea to stay home and practice social distancing.
Martwick, who was a state representative in the Illinois 19th House District for 6 ½ years, was appointed senator after John Mulroe vacated the office to become a judge last year. He said that he sought the Senate appointment because it was a good opportunity to represent more people because the Senate district is “twice as big as the House district.”
He said that he supports Pritzker’s “Fair Tax” because the current state formula is unfair to the middle class and that those earning under $250,000 wound save under the proposed tax plan, a version of which Martwick authored several years ago in the House. He also has sponsored legislation pushing for an elected Chicago school board.
Martwick said that he wanted to run a positive campaign against O’Toole, whom he called a “nice guy” and a “legitimate opponent.” He said that he had no reason to go negative or talk about O’Toole’s Republican voting record because he was confident in his democratic organization.
He said that O’Toole had two negative mailers accusing him of being “soft on crime” because he was allegedly supporting State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who was re-elected with almost 53 percent of the vote, according to election results.
“My organization didn’t endorse Kim Foxx, we didn’t have her name on the palm cards,” Martwick said. “He (O’Toole) did a joint mailer. Kim Foxx, John Arena, that type of stuff. The worst campaign that you can run is a guilty by association campaign and I made it clear to everybody that I have been working with everyone. I’m working with (Alderman) Jim Gardiner and others. That’s how you get things done,” Martwick said.
O’Toole, who is a Chicago Police Department sergeant and a U.S. Marine veteran, said before the election that area residents complained about increasing taxes and about stopping people from leaving Illinois due to its financial woes. He said that more police officers are needed to fight crime in the neighborhood and that as an officer he would know what to do.
“I know what crime looks like. I’m not a politician who says ‘I’m gonna be hard on crime’ and then does nothing. I’m not an expert on taxes but I will learn on the job. But I know a thing or two about crime (as a police officer) and what we need is more cops out here,” O’Toole said before the election.
O’Toole said that term limits would allow for other people who are interested in politics to be able to get elected “so that we are not beholden to the same people all the time.”