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Veteran Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wins fifth term

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Dick Durbin

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., thanks supporters as he makes a stop at Operating Engineers Local 965 in Springfield on Tuesday.

CHICAGO — Former Vice President Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump in Illinois and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin won reelection on Tuesday, continuing a pattern of Democratic dominance in the state.

Democrat Marie Newman was elected to Congress in a Chicago-area district, easily defeating Republican Mike Fricilone.

More than 3.5 million people in Illinois cast their ballots ahead of Election Day.

Voters also weighed in on other U.S. House races, legislative contests, a proposed constitutional amendment on income taxes and more.

Here's a look at the election:

Illinois voters

Votes cast before Election Day hit record levels. Roughly half were by mail, which could slow down when some results are available. Mail ballots have to be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and must arrive by Nov. 17 to be tallied.

Tax question

At the top of the ballot was a proposed Illinois constitutional amendment changing the state's flat income tax to a graduated income tax that takes a larger percentage from wealthy residents. The change allows first-term Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the state's Democratic-controlled Legislature to address the state's billions of dollars in debt.

The state's flat tax is currently 4.95% for individual payers. Approving an amendment to the Illinois Constitution requires three-fifths majority approval, or 60%, of all who vote on the question.

U.S. Senate

Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, won reelection to a fifth term over four lesser-known challengers.

The 75-year-old was first elected in 1996 and has been Democratic whip since 2005.

The candidates vying to replace him in Illinois' only statewide race were Republican former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran; wealthy Chicago businessman Willie Wilson, running under his own party; Green Party candidate David Black; and Libertarian Danny Malouf.

They blasted Durbin as a career politician. Durbin touted his long record and leadership role and portrayed himself as a defender of the Affordable Care Act.

"Now we have work to do to vanquish this virus and rebuild our broken economy," he said in a statement Tuesday. "I am ready for the challenge."

13th District

Republican Rep. Rodney Davis was seeking a fifth term and faced a strong challenge from Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.

It was the second matchup for the candidates after Davis narrowly won over Londrigan in 2018 by less than 1 percentage point. The GOP-heavy territory covers a swath of central and southwest Illinois, including farmland, universities and Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.

Davis, who first took office in 2013, has tried to portray himself as someone who can work with Democrats, touting his efforts on farm bills and transportation projects. Londrigan, of Springfield, has targeted Davis' opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

6th District

Democratic Rep. Sean Casten was seeking a second term with a challenge from Republican Jeanne Ives in historically GOP territory outside Chicago.

Casten, a Downers Grove businessman and scientist, flipped the seat two years ago. Casten has touted his background as a scientist in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.

A former state lawmaker, Ives is a social and fiscal conservative from Wheaton. She argues Casten isn't a good fit for the district spanning suburbs north and northwest of Chicago.

3rd District

In the primary, Newman ousted eight-term Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, in a win for abortion-rights supporters and women's groups who long targeted Lipinski. Newman lost a 2018 challenge by 2 points.

The former management consultant, who started an anti-bullying nonprofit, argued Lipinski's views weren't reflective of the Democrat-heavy district covering parts of Chicago and southwest suburbs.

It's the first time in over three decades that a Lipinski won't hold the seat. Lipinski's father, Bill, was first elected in 1982.

Other races

14TH DISTRICT: Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Democrat, was seeking a second term against GOP state Sen. Jim Oberweis in the longtime Republican Chicago-area district.

15TH DISTRICT: Republican Mary Miller won over over Democrat Erika Weaver for the seat left open by retiring Republican Rep. John Shimkus. The district covers much of southeastern Illinois, running along a section of the border with Indiana.

17TH DISTRICT: Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, faced a lively challenge from Esther Joy King, an attorney and Army Reserve captain from East Moline. Bustos, of Moline, sought a fifth term in the northwestern Illinois territory.

ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT: While judicial retention votes aren't often contentious, an effort to boot Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride drew millions of dollars. He's part of the court's Democratic majority. Voters in north-central Illinois were deciding if he should get a third 10-year term.


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