Trump-endorsed Mary Miller wins GOP primary in 15th Congressional District
Illinois Republican Rep. Mary Miller called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion nationwide a "historic victory for white life" during a weekend rally with former President Donald Trump. Her spokesperson said she misspoke. She defeated fellow GOP incumbent Rodney Davis.
Miller, first elected in 2020, is no stranger to controversy. She quoted Adolf Hitler shortly after winning her seat, saying during a rally that "Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’" She later apologized after Democrats in Illinois called for her resignation. She also voted against certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election and is a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus.
On Saturday night, she made the "white life" comment as Trump stood behind her at a rally in Mendon, drawing cheers from the crowd. Miller has since said she’s not racist, and her spokesperson said she had intended to say the ruling was a victory for the "right to life."
Miller bested five-term Republican Rep. Rodney Davis for the GOP nomination in a sprawling, heavily red district in central Illinois that was redrawn after the state’s shrinking population cost it a congressional seat.
Davis was a co-chair of Trump’s 2020 Illinois campaign but voted to certify the 2020 presidential election results. He had the backing of almost all of the district’s 35 county party chairs and vowed to "reimplement" Trump policies, including walling off the U.S.-Mexico border.
Sean Casten handily defeats Marie Newman in 6th Congressional District primary
Also in Illinois, Democratic Congressman Sean Casten secured his party’s nomination during Tuesday’s primary election. The 6th Congressional District incumbent was facing off against fellow incumbent, Representative Marie Newman who currently represents the state’s 3rd Congressional District.
Casten, who lives in Downers Grove is now seeking his third term.
"Tonight, the people of the 6th District sent a resounding message. We have been given a mandate to continue our fight against the climate crisis, to end gun violence, to lower costs for families, and to protect every woman’s right to make her own health care decisions," Casten said in a statement issued Tuesday evening. "To all who helped make tonight possible—thank you. Every door you knocked, call you made, yard sign you put out, or postcard you sent propelled us to victory. You have a lot to be proud of, and you deserve to celebrate."
Casten’s campaign did not host an election night watch party due to the recent loss of a family member. On June 12, Casten’s 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, died unexpectedly in her sleep.
"To all who have reached out in recent weeks with their condolences, prayers, support, and love, my family and I are forever grateful," said Casten.
With more than 60 percent of the vote by 9 p.m. Tuesday, Casten was declared the winner of the democratic primary.
Re-drawn congressional maps put Newman and Casten up against one another. It meant about 41 percent of Newman’s current 3rd District constituents now live in the 6th District.
Newman, a freshman congresswoman, thanked her supporters Tuesday evening at her campaign headquarters in Countryside.
"While this is not the result we wanted, know that we have to unite in November to keep this seat blue and protect our Democratic majority," said Newman. "I respect my colleague Congressman Casten for his proven commitment to the people of this district and I give him my full endorsement for re-election in November."
Charles Hughes was the third Democrat running in the primary for the 6th Congressional District seat.
Six Republican candidates are vying for their party’s nomination. As of 10 p.m. Tuesday night, a winner was not yet declared.
State Rep. Delia Ramirez defeats Ald. Gil Villegas in newly drawn Illinois 3rd District
In Illinois’ newly created 3rd Congressional District aimed at adding another Latino legislator to the U.S. House of Representatives, progressive state Rep. Delia Ramirez soundly defeated Ald. Gilbert "Gil" Villegas (36th) and two other challengers.
Ramirez held onto a strong steady lead all evening, besting Villegas’ 66% to 24%, with 96% of the 551 precincts counted. Iymen H. Chehade, a college instructor involved in the House Ethics probe of U.S. Rep. Marie Newman, D-LaGrange, trailed with 6% and registered nurse Juan Aguirre with 4% of the votes.
"I’m in awe that a community can come together with grassroots fundraising, with no corporate PAC contributions, and elected a working class Latina from Humboldt Park," Ramirez said.
The district where 4 out of every 10 people old enough to vote are Latino is rooted on the city’s Northwest Side and expands across northern suburbs from Addison, Bensenville to West Chicago to Winfield.
A jubilant crowd greeted Ramirez, 39, chanting her name as she entered her election party. Supporters had created a salsa song they blasted outside a polling place earlier Tuesday: "Delia, she’s ready," goes the song, "ready to interrupt the corruption."
People crowded to hug and take photos with Ramirez soon after her campaign declared victory. The election party included other progressive Democratic candidates including Congressman Jesus "Chuy" García.
Flanked by her parents and husband, Ramirez said she saw her victory as a sign that Latinos — not just in Chicago but also in the suburbs — want to embrace progressive policies and leaders.
"People want a good government person with a proven track record," she said. "And someone that’s going to be accessible and available. Someone that sees their humanity in Wheaton the way I see their humanity in Belmont Cragin."
She said her parents, who immigrated from Guatemala, prayed over her Monday night recalling their journey to the United States.
"You are our American dream," Ramirez recalled her parents telling her as her eyes grew watery.
Ramirez could be one of the few leaders in Congress living in a mixed immigration status household. Her husband, who has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections, was unable to vote for her. She told the crowd her priorities in Washington will be the environment and immigration reform.
Villegas, a 51-year-old former Marine who’s served in City Council since 2015, called and texted Ramirez to concede, campaign spokesman Bill Gorski said.
The Northwest Side alderman had planned to join his supporters Tuesday evening at a restaurant in Belmont Cragin, where, about an hour after polls closed, a handful of people crowded around a television broadcasting election returns. Classic salsa music played.
Ramirez is backed by some of the most far-left groups in the Democratic party, while Villegas counts as his supporters more moderate progressives including House members from swing districts.
The primary battle in the 3rd is seen as part of a larger proxy fight by groups wanting to nudge Democrats further to the left, and the two front-runners were boosted by about $2.8 million from outside groups.
Illinois’ 3rd district leans heavily toward the Democrats so now that Ramirez has won the heavily Democratic district, she’s expected to handily defeat the Republican candidate, Justin Burau, who ran unopposed in the primary.
Jonathan Jackson wins 1st District congressional race
First-time candidate Jonathan Jackson, buoyed by name recognition from his famous father and more than $1 million in outside spending by groups affiliated with the cryptocurrency industry, had been leading in most polls since he announced his candidacy to replace Rush in February.
Seventeen candidates had sought to replace Rush in the primary, the winner of which is all but assured of winning the seat in the November general election.
The mood was jubilant at the DuSable Museum of African American History as Jonathan Jackson, joined by his father and a full band, took the stage to announce victory around 9 p.m.
Rev. Jackson sat teary-eyed by his son as Jonathan Jackson addressed the crowd. Jonathan Jackson handed flowers to his wife, sisters and daughters and thanked his 80-yer-old father.
"No matter how high I go, I’ll always look up to you," he said.
"We have some challenges that are ahead of us, and I want to thank you for bestowing upon me this high and great honor to trust me with your vote, to represent you, in Washington D.C.," Jackson said. "The South Side has been left behind, and I want you to know the South Side of Chicago matters."
With 94% of precincts reporting, Jackson led the field with 28% of ballots cast, trailed by Ald. Pat Dowell with 19 % and Rush’s endorsed pick for the seat, Karin Norington-Reaves, with 14%.
Army veteran Carlson led the four-way GOP race with 41% of the vote, trailed by gun shop owner Jeffrey Regnier’s 39%.
November will mark the first time Rush’s name won’t appear on the congressional general election ballot to represent the historic 1st District for the first time since 1992.
But Davis’ dynasty in the 7th District survived a well-financed campaign by gun violence activist Kina Collins, who was challenging the longtime congressman for a second time. With 94% of precincts reporting, Davis led Collins 52% to 46%.
In the 1st District, Jonathan Jackson touted the experience he gained working at the side of his civil rights icon father, seldom mentioning his brother, disgraced former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who represented the adjacent 2nd District from 1995 to 2012, when he resigned amid a scandal over misuse of campaign funds that sent him in federal prison.
Jonathan Jackson, who campaigned for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential bid, was endorsed by the Vermont senator and local progressives, including 4th District U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.
Jackson trailed in fundraising as of the last finance report and was battered by opponents for his failure to file financial disclosure reports until just days before the election. Then, in the final weeks of the campaign, Jackson got a big boost from more than $500,000 in ad spending by a political action committee backed by cryptocurrency billionaire Samuel Bankman-Fried, whose Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX has a headquarters in Chicago’s West Loop.
All told, Jackson benefited from outside expenditures of more than $1 million from three PACs with ties to the cryptocurrency industry. Bankman-Fried donated $23 million of the $24 million raised by Protect Our Future PAC.
Davis dynasty survives challenge in the 7th District
The primary battle between Davis and Collins in the 7th District got national press attention as a barometer of the ongoing struggle between moderate Democrats and a new generation of more progressive newcomers.
"It’s been a hard fight, but I can also tell you that the victory is sweet," Davis said from the podium at the National Association of Letter Carriers hall in Bronzeville. "And I can tell you why it is so sweet — it’s because grassroots people are the ones who did it."
Collins, a community activist, was backed by nearly $400,000 in spending by the progressive Justice Democrats PAC — which recruited U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib to run in 2018.
Collins improved on her 14% showing in 2020, when Davis won 61% of the votes in a four-way race.
While Collins raised about $150,000 more than Davis during the campaign cycle and out-spent the incumbent $530,000 to $136,000, Davis was buoyed late by endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden — as well as a burst of $425,000 in spending from a "dark money" group affiliated with moderate Democratic House leaders.
There was no candidate in the Republican primary for the seat.
More district races
Two Republicans were vying to oust U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, for control of the 5th District that wraps around Chicago from the lakefront on the city’s North Side to west suburban Downers Grove. Commercial realtor Tommy Hanson held a strong lead over Malgorzata McGonigal, 55% to 45% with 98% of all precincts counted.
In the northwest suburban 8th district encompassing Elgin and Schaumburg, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi was readily fending off Democratic challenger Junaid Ahmed, 71% to 29% with more than 80% of the 474 precincts counted.
On the Republican side, where five candidates emerged, Chris Dargis was leading the pack Tuesday evening with 32% of the votes. He was followed by Peter Kopsaftis with 19%, Phillip Wood and Karen Kolodziej with 18%, and Chad Koppie with 13%.
In the 9th district covering Chicago’s North Side and northern suburbs and the north suburban 10th district, neither party faced a contested primary. That means voters already know that come November, longtime incumbent 9th district Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Chicago, will face Max Rice, and Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Deerfield, will defend his 10th district seat against Joseph Severino.
In the 11th Congressional District — which runs from the far southwest to the far northwest suburbs and includes some rural areas — U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville had no opponents. There were six candidates in the Republican primary.
With 67% of precincts reporting, Catalina Lauf, a Trump Administration appointee to the U.S. Commerce Department, was leading with 29% of the vote.
She hails from Woodstock and, in 2020, ran unsuccessfully in the GOP primary for the 14th Congressional District to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood.
Underwood, of Naperville, also had no Democratic opponent Tuesday but there were five candidates in the Republican primary. Attorney Scott Gryder of Oswego, chairman of the Kendall County board, had roughly 31% of the vote, with 92% of voting precincts counted.
Kendall County Republican Party leader James Marter trailed at 24%.
The district includes some far west and southwest suburbs but also extends into Yorkville, DeKalb and LaSalle County.
The general election will be held Nov. 8.
The Associated Press and Sun-Times Wire contributed to this report.