Democratic incumbent Rep. Sean Casten declared victory Wednesday morning in a close contest against former state representative and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives.
As of 8 a.m., and with 99.7% precincts reporting, votes for Casten totaled 184,809, while votes for Ives totaled 167,629.
Casten’s campaign released a statement about 7:30 a.m.:
“The voters of the 6th District sent a resounding message. They voted for science and facts. They voted for decency, acceptance, and love, and rejected bigotry and racism. They said that they believe we should all have high quality, affordable health care. They acknowledged the climate crisis and decided we ought to do something about it.
“To the voters — you have given me a tremendous amount of responsibility, and I can only hope to live up to your expectations. Over the next two years, you can expect more town halls and accessibility from my office.
“In Congress, I will continue to advocate for our District on COVID relief, health care, combating climate change, and job creation. More than anything else, thank you to all who participated in this election.”
The 6th Congressional District covers much of the near west and northwest suburbs in parts of Cook, Kane, McHenry, DuPage and Lake counties. Casten won the district two years ago by defeating six-term Republican Peter Roskam. He is the first Democrat to hold the seat since the mid-1970s.
Casten, who lives in Downers Grove, has degrees in engineering, molecular biology and biochemistry and previously worked as a scientist and clean energy entrepreneur before he was elected in 2018.
He has been highly critical of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 230,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus, and Casten told the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board that President Donald Trump “bears personal responsibility for that death toll.”
Casten has called climate change his top priority. In October, he introduced a bill that, he said, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 40% by the year 2040. The bill — the Tradable Performance Standard Act — would require power generators and industrial facilities to meet certain carbon intensity thresholds in an effort to reduce pollution.
In an interview with WBEZ last week, Ives said, “The big, big issue here is how to adapt to climate change that has been occurring since the climate existed.”
Ives, of Wheaton, was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 2012 and served three terms. A social conservative and West Point graduate with three sons in the armed forces, Ives ran for governor in 2018, taking on incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in the primary.
Though Rauner won that race, Ives still captured more than 48% of the vote in the March 2018 primary.
With the COVID-19 pandemic hurting businesses across the state and country, Casten has said it “would be irresponsible to stimulate the economy if that meant encouraging people to come into closer contact in their offices, schools, sports stadiums and thereby accelerat[ing] the spread of the disease.”
Ives, meanwhile, has blamed “a handful of bureaucrats” for the imposition of public health measures that are designed to curb the pandemic’s outbreak.
“What we really need to do is reopen the economy,” Ives said to WBEZ.
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