As of 5 p.m. Monday, the slate of candidates for the March 15 primaries is complete and the stage is set for the first elections in the Bruce Rauner era.
Rauner's presence goes well beyond his status as the state's first Republican governor in 12 years. His personal wealth and ambition to bolster the depleted ranks of Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly likely will make many 2016 state legislative races far more competitive - and expensive - than voters have seen in previous elections.
Also in the mix are a pair of independent expenditure committees - more commonly known as Super PACs - dedicated to either "state legislative candidates who support Gov. Rauner's bold and needed reforms, and to oppose those who stand in the way" (Turnaround Illinois) or "defending Democratic incumbents from challenges they may face as a result of taking the tough votes needed to address the crisis" (IllinoisGO). They can't directly donate to or coordinate with legislative candidates' campaigns, but they have a combined $11.6 million to spend supporting/opposing candidates on their own.
With that in mind, here are some observations and items to watch now that we know the candidates for the March primaries. Some candidates who filed nominating petitions won't make it to the March 15 ballot if their petitions are challenged and found to fail Illinois State Board of Elections requirements.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for a more comprehensive list of Illinois General Assembly incumbents facing primary opponents and other interesting contests that emerged during the past week.