WASHINGTON — Republican Jim Oberweis attended orientation for new House members on Thursday and Friday, even though the Associated Press projected Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., the winner of their 14th Congressional District race.
Every two years in the week after the election, the House Committee on Administration runs two days of briefings and training for newly elected members.
The House Democratic and Republican leadership also have activities for their new members.
On Saturday, Oberweis posted on Twitter a series of photos and videos of him touring the White House at an event for GOP freshmen members.
Thursday afternoon, the AP called the 14th District race for freshman Underwood, from Naperville. At that point, the count put her 4,288 votes ahead of Oberweis, a state senator from Sugar Grove. Since then, with more mail and provisional ballots counted, Underwood has increased her lead to 4,688, according to the AP.
Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin told reporters Thursday that Oberweis would not concede and would seek a recount.
On Friday, Akin said Oberweis “was on the plane when the AP called the race” on Thursday.
When races are not called or otherwise undecided, it is common practice for candidates to attend the freshman orientation.
Akin said Oberweis attending the sessions was not an “in your face” statement. It was “something he was advised to do so he did,” Akin said. New member orientation is held only once.
The orientation mainly deals with the logistics of getting a House office up and running. Sessions and trainings are held going over office budgets and equipment, staffing, ethics rules and how government money can and cannot be used. New members also use the face time with leaders to lobby for committee assignments.
Akin said Oberweis will pursue the recount once ballot counting is complete on Nov. 17 and the results are certified. Akin said the “numbers being reported are accurate” but Oberweis has a chance of winning because “we think there are more provisional ballots out there than have been said.”
A spokesman for the Underwood campaign had no comment about Oberweis attending the orientation.
Rep.-elect Mary Miller boosts GOP female ranks
Oberweis posted a picture of himself on Facebook in the Capitol complex with Rep.-elect Mary Miller, R-Ill.
Miller will replace retiring Rep. John Shimkus in downstate’s 15th Congressional District, which includes some of the most Republican, conservative turf in Illinois. Miller won with 73.5% of the vote, according to the AP. With her husband, she runs a family farm in Oakland, in Coles County.
House Republicans had only 13 females in their ranks going into the election, and the results yielded a record number of new GOP females — more than a dozen, including Miller, who campaigned on conservative causes and issues.
Miller will be the only female Republican in the Illinois delegation. Including Underwood, Democratic women in the delegation number four.