The current confrontations in two congressional districts in Illinois

The current congressional primaries for the incumbent in the western suburbs saw Rep. Sean Kasten declared the winner over his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Mary Newman.

A similar battle within the party in Downstate, where former President Donald Trump played a central role, saw Rep. Rodney Davis abdicate to far-right Republican Representative Mary Miller.

The other major race is the Republican primary to determine who will face incumbent US Senator Tammy Duckworth in November. There, Cathy Salvi, a Mondlin family lawyer, was leading the seven-candidate field with half of the constituencies.

In his victory statement, Kasten pledged to keep the Sixth District, which covers parts of the western and southwestern suburbs, in the hands of Democrats.

“Tonight, the people of the sixth district sent a resounding message,” he said. “We have been given a mandate to continue our fight against the climate crisis, end gun violence, reduce costs to families and protect every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.”

At her party, Newman asked her supporters to unite “because the Democratic Party needs you, we all have to be together, we have to be united.”

Democratic mapmakers had kicked off their primaries after a recession in Illinois cost the state a seat in Congress. Kasten, a moderate from Downers Grove, faced off against the Progressive Newman, a Lagrange native who represents District Three.

Subsequently adjusted to a “weak Latin” area, Newman opted to face Kasten. Although representatives are not required to live in the district they represent, Newman’s campaign said it would move to District VI if it won.

The race raged despite the lack of fundamental policy differences, with candidates citing alleged moral lapses of their opponents. Kasten faces an FEC investigation over financial issues from his 2018 campaign, while Newman is under a congressional investigation into allegations that she offered a job to a potential competitor to keep him out of the 2020 ballot.

But the race took a dramatic turn two weeks ago, when Kasten’s 17-year-old daughter Gwen died suddenly at home (the DuPage County coroner has yet to reveal the cause or method of death). The fierce campaign has been paused, even though every candidate has been active on social media in the week leading up to the election.

Charles Hughes, a former Bill Lipinski district worker in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood of West Midway, was also in the race, although he received only a fraction of the vote on Tuesday.

In the Republican primary in District VI, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau led a six-candidate field with 46% of the vote to press time.

Another insular battle broke out in the 15th District, which shifted re-mapping from the southeastern part of the state to the central and western part of Illinois. When Miller, a new congressional student, saw her home in Oakland hardly heading into a district with another Republican congressman, Mike Post of Murphysboro, she decided to challenge Davis, the five-term incumbent from Taylorville.

Miller is the party’s far-right wing, and from the start of her tenure she has made remarks that critics saw as evidence of her extremism, though she called them misunderstandings or misrepresentations.

A few days after taking office, she faced demands for her resignation after she said in a speech that “Hitler was right on one thing: He said, ‘He who has the youth has the future.'”

She apologized and accused critics of “intentionally trying to misrepresent my words to mean something contrary to my beliefs”.

Last week, at a rally with Trump in Mindon, Illinois, Miller called the US Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for white life.”

Her campaign said she meant the “right to life” and complained that she was being persecuted by “false news vultures.”

While Miller offered her endorsement for Trump and slammed her opponent as a supposed Reno — a Republican in name only — Davis noted that he was one of the four presidents involved in Trump’s bid for reelection to the presidency and was among the Republicans who helped write Trump’s tax cut legislation in 2017, which Davis wants to make it permanent.

He portrayed himself during the campaign as someone who could get things done, citing his work as a senior Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. He indicated that his seniority would make him the next chairman of the House Administration Committee.

Miller will face Democrat Paul Lange in the fall, although a GOP victory appears assured given that the district is made up of 67% of Republicans.

Another painful race came in the Republican primary for a small Illinois seat in the US Senate.

It was Salafi’s choice of establishment, as he adopted traditional partisan positions, raised the most money, and won the endorsement of a number of Republican organizations.

She has conservative views such as opposing abortion and supporting the construction of a wall along the country’s southern border. In a candidate forum with the Daily Herald, she did not answer directly when asked if the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Three of her primary opponents – Geneva financial planner Bobby Peyton, ex-Belleville policewoman Peggy Hubbard and Jimmy Lee Tillman II, former Chicago Ald’s son. Dorothy Tillman – He didn’t hesitate to repeat the false election theft claim during their campaigns.

The winner will likely face a tough race against Duckworth, who didn’t have a primary opponent. It had more than $7 million in campaign money available as of March 31 and plenty of name recognition statewide.

In the 8th District, which stretches across the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Democratic winner Raja Krishnamurthy has been declared the winner over his only contender, Junaid Ahmed.

Ahmed, a small tech business owner and consultant from South Barrington, accused Krishnamurthy of becoming beholden to special interests and PACs. Krishnamurthy said he has defied vested interests and voiced endorsements from powerful Democratic allies such as Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club.

The race erupted recently when Krishnamurthy criticized Ahmed for tweeting in support of a protest that included chants, “Nazis out, Raja must go” and “Krishnamurthy, Murdabad” – an Urdu or Hindi word that Krishnamurthy said means “death”.

Although two University of Chicago professors who teach Hindi said the word is a symbol of speech frequently used in Indian politics, Ahmed said he was unaware of the hymn and condemned such language.

On the Republican side of the Eighth District, retired Navy SEAL Chris Dargis led four other candidates with 33% of the vote.

Political mapmakers have redirected the 14th district of the remote northwest to the western suburbs and rural areas beyond, but incumbent Rep. Lauren Underwood has directed no contender in the Democratic primary.

Kendall County board member Scott Greider emerged on track to be Underwood’s Republican opponent in November, leading a group of five candidates with 31% of the vote.

In the Eleventh District, a western suburban enclave that added part of McHenry County in redistricting, current Representative Bill Foster, a Democrat, faced no major opposition.

Six Republicans fought to replace him in November, and with 25% of the electoral district on Tuesday, Catalina Love, a former US Commerce Department adviser under Trump, was in front with 30% of the vote.

jkeilman@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @JohnKeilman

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