Illinois Democrats seek to add to majority in U.S. House of Representatives

With an uptick in mail-in ballots, voting officials cautioned it could take days to sort out close races.

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Democratic Nominee for Congress in Illinois’ Third District Marie Newman answers questions from the media at 2407 W 111th St in Kennedy Park, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Across the state, those hoping to represent Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives awaited for results Tuesday night, with some close races expected to take days to declare because of mail-in ballots.

In the 17th District, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat, faced a strong challenge from Republican Esther Joy King. The district includes parts of Rockford, the Quad Cities and Peoria. Just before 11 p.m., a winner had not been declared, and incomplete returns showed a tie of 50% to 50%.

King, an attorney, garnered support from Trump who tweeted that she would be a strong supporter of “our #MAGA agenda,” referring to the president’s campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”

Before the polls closed, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican, told reporters he felt “cautiously optimistic” that he would declare victory by the end of the night. Davis, who has served the 13th District since 2013, faced a challenge from Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan who hoped to flip the seat. Incomplete results showed Davis winning 60% to 39%.

It was a rematch for the two, and Davis said his campaign had built a “better ground game” to fend off another challenge in the district that includes parts of Springfield, Bloomington and Champaign.


U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican, speaks to reporters hours before polls close on Election Day. He faced a challenge from Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in the 13th District.

Democrat Marie Newman cruised to victory Tuesday in the 3rd District. Incomplete results showed her winning, beating Republican Mike Fricilone.

“I will never stop fighting for you, and that I will always fight for what’s best for our community and our country,” Newman told supporters over Facebook Live.

Newman, of LaGrange, faced her biggest hurdle in the March primary when she narrowly unseated U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat who had served in Congress since 2015. The district stretches from Bridgeport to the southwest suburbs.


Democrat Marie Newman greets and thanks voters at 2407 W. 111th St. in Kennedy Park, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Downstate, Republican Mary Miller beat out Democrat Erika Weaver as both battled for the 15th District seat to replace retiring Republican Rep. John Shimkus. Incomplete returns showed Miller winning in a district that covers central and southwestern parts of the state, including Paducah, Edwardsville and Danville.

“As your Congresswoman, I’ll stand for our God-given constitutional rights, the rule of law, and a culture of freedom,” Miller said in a statement late Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat in the 11th District, fended off a challenge from Republican Rick Laib, according to incomplete returns.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat in the 9th District, said during a virtual Election Day gathering hosted by Foster that Democrats hope to add to their majority in the U.S. House. She beat Republican Sargis Sangari.

In other congressional races in Illinois:

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, Democrat, won reelection after facing a challenge from Philanise White, a Republican, in the 1st District.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, a Democrat, was declared the winner in in the 2nd District after facing a challenge from Republican Theresa J. Raborn.

U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García, a Democrat, fended off a challenge from Republican Jesus Solorio in the 4th District.

In the 5th District, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat, won reelection after being challenged by Tommy Hanson, a Republican, and Green candidate Thomas Wilda.

U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, beat GOP challenger Craig Cameron and Tracy Jennings, an Independent, in the 7th District.

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat, won reelection in the 8th District after being challenged by Libertarian Preston Gabriel Nelson.

In the 10th District, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat, faced GOP challenger Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee. By 11 p.m., a winner had not been declared, though Schneider led 53% to 46%.

In the 12th District, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, a Republican, fended off a challenge from Democrat Raymond C. Lenzi.

In the 16th District, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican, beat Democrat Dani Brzozowski.

In the 18th District, U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, a Republican, fended off a challenge from Democrat George Petrilli.

Elvia Malagón’s reporting on social justice and income inequality is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust. 

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