It turns out that Illinois, the state that produced the first two Republican presidents, is now one of the least Republican in the union. In only six states do fewer voters identify as Republicans. Illinois is the least Republican state that is not on the East or the West coast, and the second-largest in the Top 10, after California. Thanks to the influence of Chicago, it votes like a coastal, cosmopolitan state despite its interior location. This explains why the Republican Party has had zero influence in state politics in the last 10 years, has won only two Senate elections in the last 34 years, and couldn’t even beat an unelected Democratic governor with an 28 percent approval rating. The Democrats have become the natural governing party in Illinois. The Republicans can only make a case for themselves when the Democrats really screw up.A few states are noted as least Republican, most of the northeastern states such as Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and even Massachussettes (the state of the current GOP nominee for President). Then there's California who elected future President Ronald Reagan as their Governor for two terms. Still the question is what's the deal with those states that are solidly "blue" if you will?
It's easy for me to answer this question for Illinois. Scandals in the Illinois Republican Party probably helped to hurt the party for the past decade. Remember the scene after the 1994 elections that saw national Republicans taking over the US Congress, in Illinois briefly Republicans took control of the General Assembly. In 1997, they lose control of the state House of Representatives and in 2003 they lost control of the state Senate. Also from 1977 to 2003, 25 years of Republican governors.
Now it may not entirely be the reason why the state's been struggling but I'm pretty sure it didn't help. George Ryan's administration had been plagued by allegations of corruption when he was our Secretary of State. The scandal was referred to as "license for bribes", in any event if Ryan - a longtime pol in this state - wanted a second term it wasn't going to happen. Even if he took the courageous stance - even as a Republican - to put a moratorium on death sentences and commute all death row sentences near the end of his term.
Currently Ryan is still serving a prison sentence for his corruption conviction. It's safe to say time passed him by as what may have been appropriate back in the old school days when Ryan started in politics were worth a federal inquiry that got him indicted and convicted.
BTW, I would still like to figure out what happened in 2010. I suppose no campaign could rest on the laurels of the Rod Blagojevich scandal even then a year when Republicans gained ground in a lot of states around the nation. So Democrats in Illinois had been tainted by a scandal plagued governor from their own party and still maintained a hold on power in this state.
It is what it is.