Democrat Lauren Underwood Wins Reelection In Illinois House Race, GOP Opponent Won’t Concede

Democrat Lauren Underwood Wins Reelection In Illinois House Race, GOP Opponent Won’t Concede

Democrat Lauren Underwood Wins Reelection In Illinois House Race, GOP Opponent Won’t Concede. In this photo, Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., speaks during a news conference June 24, 2020 in Washington. Underwood has been reelected over Republican businessman and state lawmaker Jim Oberweis in a close Chicago-area race. The district has historically been Republican but flipped two years ago. Underwood is Black and a nurse. She was the first woman and first minority to win the congressional seat once held by Republican former House Speaker Dennis Hastert(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, FILE)

Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood has been reelected to her Illinois House seat in a Republican-leaning district, besting her GOP challenger Jim Oberweis in what she called “a tough race under some very difficult circumstances,” The Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.

The 14th District Chicago-area race has close parallels to the national presidential one. Absentee ballots, threats of legal challenges and premature declarations abound.

Like President-elect Joe Biden, Underwood, 34, pledged to represent everyone in her district despite how they voted.

“We face urgent challenges as a community and a country. I remain focused on getting results: protecting our families, ensuring a robust economic recovery, and lowering the cost of health care,” Underwood said in a statement. “Whether you voted for me or not, I pledge to represent every member of this community. That’s my responsibility, and I take it seriously. It’s a privilege to bring northern Illinois voices and values to Washington and I can’t wait to build upon all that we’ve accomplished, together.”

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Oberweis, 74, is also taking a cue from his party’s leader – current U.S. President Donald Trump – by prematurely claiming victory and refusing to concede.

Though Underwood has been declared the winner, Oberweis said there were still outstanding votes that hadn’t been counted, plans to request a recount and said his campaign is “committed to exploring all of the legal options at our disposal.”

“The Associated Press calling the race in the 14th Congressional District for Lauren Underwood does not change anything in this race from a legal standpoint,” Oberweis’ spokesman Travis Akin said.

The very close race was called Thursday by AP showing Underwood with 200,037 votes (50.5 percent) and Oberweis’ with 195,749 votes (49.5 percent). By this count, Underwood was ahead by 4,288 votes.

Oberweis, however, still defiantly went to new member orientation for House members on Capitol Hill Friday, Nov. 13, Business Insider reported.

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Underwood was first elected to the Congress in 2018 after defeating incumbent four-term GOP Congressman Rundy Hultgren when a blue wave of Democrat victories swept the nation. A nurse by trade, Underwood said she decided to run after learning Hultgren was in favor of legislation that would have made getting healthcare more expensive for those with preexisting conditions, AP reported.

Oberweis has been a state senator since 2013 and run unsuccessfully for higher offices more than once.

Official ballot counting is expected to be completed Nov. 17, followed by the certification of election results.