CHICAGO (AP) — A battleground race between freshmen aiming to fill the seat of resigning U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos in Illinois’ 17th District fell in favor of Democrat Eric Sorensen, marking a key victory for the party since she’s trying to keep control of Congress.
Sorenson, a Rockford meteorologist, defeated Republican Esther Joy King, an attorney who serves in the Army Reserve, in Tuesday’s election. The Northwest Illinois District stretches from Rockford in the north to Peoria and Bloomington in central Illinois. The Associated Press called Thursday’s close race.
The state lost one of its 18 House seats after the 2020 census, and Democrats, who control state government and Illinois redistribution, received backlash for the new maps from Republicans and beyond. The reallocation proved successful for the Democrats, who improved their dominance in the state delegation in Washington from 13-5 to a 14-3. The state’s two US Senators are also Democrats, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, who were easily re-elected on Tuesday.
Sorensen, whose campaign slogan was “Predict a Bright Future for Illinois,” said his first term in Congress would focus on fighting inflation and strengthening reproductive rights.
According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, an organization working to increase the number of our elected LGBTQ officers, he will be the first LGBTQ person to represent Illinois in Congress.
“This place is special and is represented by someone who has spent most of their life living, working and being actively involved in our community here and will ensure our community has a seat at the table” , he said via campaign statement.
Sorensen has called for a bipartisan effort to cut the cost of food, health care and gasoline, and says he is at ease with the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. to overthrow Wade, disagree, which eliminated constitutional protections for abortion. According to Sorensen, a safe and legal abortion is a reproductive right and a health matter between a woman and her doctor.
King, who edged out Bustos by just a few percentage points in 2020, describes herself as “unapologetic about life.”
In a franchise statement Wednesday, she wished Sorensen the best of luck for the role, adding, “I hope he will put the needs of this district in Congress ahead of his personal ideology because people deserve it.” ___
Savage is a corps member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that brings journalists into local newsrooms to cover undercover topics.
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