Former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias wins Illinois Secretary of State election


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Giannoulias, a member of the Chicago Public Library Board, previously served as Illinois state treasurer from 2007 to 2011. In 2010, he lost a bid to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate to Republican Mark Kirk.

Pavan Acharya and William Tong

Former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) has been elected Illinois Secretary of State, according to the Associated Press.

With 65% of votes counted, Giannoulias received 56.3% of the vote as of 10:51 p.m., defeating State Rep. Dan Brady (R-Bloomington).

Giannoulias ran on digitizing state identification, protecting voting rights and modernizing the DMV process. He said he wants to include an option for individuals to schedule DMV appointments online in Illinois.

Giannoulias was the Illinois state treasurer from 2007 to 2011 and was then the youngest in the position nationwide. In 2010, he lost a U.S. Senate race to Republican Mark Kirk.

“Tonight is not about my comeback story,” Giannoulias said during his victory speech Tuesday. “Tonight is about all of you, the people of Illinois. I want to thank you for putting your trust in me after I’ve been out of office for 12 years and thank you for believing in me once again.”

Giannoulias also served as a member of the Chicago Public Libraries Board of Directors and as chairman of the Illinois Community College Board.

Giannoulias will be the first new Illinois Secretary of State since 1999, replacing incumbent Jesse White, who will retire in January after 24 years in the position. White made history as Illinois’ first Black Secretary of State and won reelection six consecutive times. He endorsed Giannoulias for the Secretary of State race, but he spoke highly of Brady as well.

Brady currently serves as deputy Republican leader in the General Assembly. He was the McLean County Coroner from 1992 to 2000.

Giannoulias has linked Brady to former President Donald Trump, while Brady also criticized Giannoulias’ bank record. Regulators seized a Chicago community bank owned by Giannoulias’ family in 2010.

Libertarian candidate Jon Stewart received 2.1% of the vote. He is a former professional wrestler from Deerfield who mounted unsuccessful campaigns for the Illinois General Assembly in 1998, the U.S. Senate in 2000 and governor in 2018.

The Illinois Secretary of State is responsible for issuing driver’s licenses, registering vehicles, promoting organ donation awareness and overseeing the Illinois State Library, among other functions. 

Giannoulias is set to take office in January. Giannoulias said one of his goals is to restore trust in government in Illinois.=

“During this campaign, we heard a lot from disgruntled and disheartened citizens who have lost faith in politics, have lost faith in government, in both parties,” he said. “Well I’m telling you not to lose faith. I’m telling you that you can believe again — that you can believe in the nobility and integrity and inspiration of public service.”

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