Illinois suburban races could decide control of U.S. House — what to know

Tuesday’s election could shift the political landscape on both the federal and state level.

In Illinois, there are several suburban showdowns among the most hotly contested Congressional races.

Starting with the 6th District, it's one of the suburban seats that propelled Nancy Pelosi to the podium as House Speaker when local Democrats scored a big surprise: knocking out a longtime Republican incumbent in the blue wave election of 2018.

The question now is whether Downers Grove Democrat Sean Casten, a cleaner energy entrepreneur, can hold off Republican challenger Keith Pekau in a political environment that may be much more favorable for the GOP.

Pekau is currently the mayor of Orland Park in the southwest suburbs and has campaigned focusing on the economic issue of inflation and crime. Casten says Democrats have delivered on promises regarding jobs, new infrastructure, and greener energy.

The district includes parts of five counties: DuPage, Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry,


Another race to watch is the 11th District, where the district covers an arc from the southwest to northwest suburbs, including parts of each collar county.

Naperville's five-term incumbent Bill Foster is the only PhD physicist in the U.S. Congress. The 67-year-old serves on a House committee overseeing pandemic policy.

Challenger Catalina Lauf, 29, was a Donald Trump appointee to a commerce department job several years ago. She's gotten lots of campaign cash from national conservative groups, including one run by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

As in the 6th District, the pro-choice Democrat here calls the pro-life Republican out of touch with local women.

If the GOP take this seat, they likely take control of the U.S. House.

Sean Casten, Keith Pekau, Bill Foster, Catalina Lauf

In Wisconsin, the latest Marquette Law School poll shows the Senate race will be very close. Republican Senator Ron Johnson currently tops Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes 50 to 48 percent. That's within the margin of error.

It may take a few days to find out which party will control congress after the polls close on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia are most likely to determine final control of the Senate, and if neither candidate in the Georgia Senate race receives more than 50-percent of the vote, as expected, a runoff election would be set for December 6.

Republicans need a net gain of five seats in the House and one in the Senate to take back control of Congress.