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2018 Primary: 6 Congressional Districts to Watch

Not one of the incumbents in Illinois’ 18 congressional districts lost their party’s nomination in the March primary.

Some, like U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush, Peter Roskam and Brad Schneider, ran unopposed. But others were challenged: U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley defeated three 5th District opponents in the Democratic primary by earning more than 60 percent of the votes. In a primary race that’s garnered national attention, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski nearly fell to his challenger, political newcomer Marie Newman.

Races we watched – and what happened: 3rd District | 4th District | 5th District | 6th District | 10th District | 13th District | Other Districts

3rd District

8:40 a.m. Wednesday: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, a centrist Democrat, has been named the winner by the Associated Press, narrowly holding off his progressive opponent Marie Newman by 1.8 percentage points, with 97 percent of precincts reporting.

Newman conceded Wednesday morning.

This election cycle, Lipinski faced his fiercest re-election challenge from his own party since assuming office in 2004.

Newman, a marketing consultant who’s running on a progressive liberal agenda, secured endorsements from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

While Newman is attacking Lipinski’s right-leaning policies in a solidly blue district, Lipinski, an anti-abortion Democrat who voted against the Affordable Care Act, has name recognition that stretches back decades in the 3rd District, which covers several southwestern suburbs in the Chicago area. Following the 2004 primary election, Lipinski replaced his father as the Democratic nominee on the district’s ballot after the elder Lipinski, who served 11 terms in Congress, announced his retirement.

4th District

12:22 a.m. Wednesday: Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who was endorsed by the congressman whose seat he aims to fill, is the 4th District winner after receiving roughly two-thirds of the votes, with 97.1 precincts reporting, according to the Washington Post.

The three-way battle to replace U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who announced his decision to not run for re-election in late November, also includes Sol Flores, the director of a non-profit that aids the homeless and those at risk of homelessness; and Richard Gonzalez, a Chicago Police sergeant and director of an affordable housing nonprofit.

During a Chicago Tonight candidate forum last week, the three Democrats made their cases for protecting the rights of Dreamers (young undocumented immigrants protected under DACA) and providing affordable housing in the district’s North and Southwest Side neighborhoods, where some residents are worried about displacement due to gentrification and increased development.

5th District

9:36 a.m. Wednesday: Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat running for his sixth term in the 5th Congressional District, was called the winner of the district’s Democratic primary with 63 percent of the vote and 98 percent of precincts reporting, according the Washington Post.

Quigley, facing his first primary challenge since taking office in 2009, had a lead of more than 36,000 votes with 98 percent of precincts reporting, receiving 63,008 votes while his closest competitor, real estate broker Sameena Mustafa, had received 24,090 votes.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Quigley made headlines, but his time in the national media spotlight hasn’t stopped three Democrats from challenging him in the primary.

His opponents include Benjamin Thomas Wolf, a former FBI official who’s made the marijuana legalization the benchmark of his campaign. Wolf was recently accused of verbal and physical abuse by a former intern and girlfriend who spoke to Politico.

Also running on the Democratic ballot for the 5th District, which covers parts of Cook and DuPage counties, are Mustafa, a former Planned Parenthood manager; and Steven Schwartzberg, a former building and office manager for Church of Our Saviour, an Episcopal church in Lincoln Park.

Mustafa has criticized Quigley for not being progressive enough due to his opposition of a single-payer health care system.

6th District

9:30 a.m. Wednesday: Clean energy entrepreneur Sean Casten beat out six Democratic opponents and will face off with the incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary, in November.

While financial advisor Kelly Mazeski had a narrow lead over Casten for much of election night, once all precincts reported Wednesday morning, Casten came away with 29.9 percent of the votes while Mazeski received 26.5 percent of total votes, according to the Washington Post.

Also running in the Democratic primary are Naperville bookseller Becky Anderson Wilkins, attorney and former Congressional aide Carole Cheney, attorney and former educator Amanda Howland, data analyst Ryan Huffman, and regulatory attorney Jennifer Zordani.

The district covers suburbs to the northwest and west of Chicago in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Cook counties.

10th District

1:10 a.m. Wednesday: Business consultant Douglas Bennett has won the nomination by claiming 35.6 percent of the total votes with all precincts reporting, according to the Washington Post.

Attorney Jeremy Wynes trailed him closely with 34.5 percent of the total votes.

Bennett will face incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider in November.

Since 2011, Illinois’ 10th Congressional District has flip-flopped between Republican Rep. Bob Dold and Schneider every two years.

Last year, Dold announced he wouldn’t seek a fourth rematch against Schneider. In his place, three candidates have stepped up to run in the Republican primary for the 10th District, which covers northeast Illinois and several northern Chicago suburbs.

Business consultant and Trump supporter Douglas Bennett is running as a social conservative while his opponents, attorney Jeremy Wynes and physician Sapan Shah, are campaigning as socially moderate and fiscally conservative Republicans.

13th District

9:40 a.m. Wednesday: Betsy Londrigan, a former aide to Sen. Dick Durbin, has been called winner of the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, according to the Washington Post.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Londrigan had 45.7 percent of the total votes – behind her was former Illinois assistant attorney general Erik Jones with 22.4 percent of the votes.

Illinois’ 13th Congressional District incorporates large swaths of central Illinois, including parts of Springfield and some rural counties. Republican Rep. Rodney Davis has represented this district for five years and faces no Republican primary opponent, but Democrats have lined up to take Davis on in the general election.

The Democratic primary candidates: college professor and military veteran Jonathan Ebel, physician David Gill, former Illinois assistant attorney general Erik Jones, former Sen. Dick Durbin staffer Betsy Londrigan, and teacher Angel Sides. Many of the candidates have set their sights on Davis’s record of voting in line with Trump 95 percent of the time.

In other district races:

1st District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush ran unopposed. The Republican candidate, Jimmy Lee Tillman, also ran unopposed.

2nd District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly defeated Marcus Lewis. As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday with 99 percent of precincts reporting, a winner hasn’t been called in the Republican primary, with David Merkle receiving 36.7 percent of the votes and Patrick Harmon close behind with 35.3 percent of the votes, according to the Washington Post.

7th District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis defeated Anthony Clark. In the Republican primary, Craig Cameron defeated Jeffrey Leef.

8th District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi ran unopposed. The Republican candidate, JD Diganvker, also ran unopposed.

9th District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky ran unopposed. In the Republican primary, John Elleson defeated Sargis Sangari, D. Vincent Thomas and Maxwell Rice.

11th District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster ran unopposed. In the Republican primary, Nick Stella defeated Connor Vlakancic.

12th District: Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Bost defeated Preston Nelson. In the Democratic primary, Brendan Kelly defeated David Bequette.

14th District: Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren ran unopposed. In the Democratic primary, Lauren Underwood defeated Matthew Brolley, Jim Walz, Victor Swanson, John Hosta, George Weber and Daniel Roldan-Johnson. 

15th District: Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus ran unopposed. In the Democratic primary, Kevin Gaither defeated Carl Spoerer.

16th District: Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger defeated Jim Marter. In the Democratic primary, Sara Dady defeated Neill Mohammad, Amy Briel and Beth Vercolio-Osmund.

17th District: Incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos ran unopposed. The Republican candidate, Bill Fawell, also ran unopposed.

18th District: Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood defeated Donald Rients. In the Democratic primary, Junius Rodriguez defeated Brian Deters and Darrel Miller.


More primary election coverage:

Early Voting Surges in Chicago and Suburban Cook County

March 19: The Chicago Board of Elections says nearly 86,000 city residents cast ballots between Feb. 21 and March 18, surpassing the number of early voters in the 2010 and 2014 midterm primary elections combined.


Competition in Congress: A Primary Preview

Jan. 25: Who will take U.S. Rep. Luis Guiterrez’s place in Washington? A preview of that highly competitive contest and others coming up next month.


2018 Voters’ Guide to the Cook County Primary

WTTW’s 2018 Voters’ Guide to the Cook County Primary is an online resource designed to inform voters about the candidates running for office in the March 20 election. Learn more.


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