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Budzinski wins congressional seat; Turner hangs on in Illinois Senate

Democrat Nikki Budzinski declared victory Tuesday night, winning her first election. She'll represent a large part of central Illinois in congress. And the victory is a direct result of new political boundaries.

The 13th congressional district has been competitive for several years, but has remained in Republican hands. Cong. Rodney Davis was able to defeat a series of challengers. But when Democrats put a new map together last year, they gave their party an edge.

Budzinski defeated Republican Regan Deering, a business owner and philanthropist, in a district that stretches from the Champaign area on the east, cuts through Decatur and Springfield, and then grabs a swath of territory that goes all the way south to the Metro East.

Budzinski ran ads focusing on Deering's wealth. She has family ties to the agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland. Deering also was attacked for comments that appeared to show support for means testing social security.

Budzinski, a former Chief of Staff for the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden Administration, also worked as an aide to Gov. JB Pritzker. Questions were raised about her work as a consultant.

Budzinski held a lead of nearly 20,000 votes with about 90% of the vote counted early Wednesday.

Turner holds off Hamilton

Democratic Senator Doris Turner appeared to win a full term, narrowly defeating Republican Sandy Hamilton Tuesday.

With 100% of the vote counted, Turner had a lead of just over 1300 votes in the newly drawn 48th district. It includes precincts in Sangamon, Macon and Christian counties.

The race was expected to be close and both parties poured money into the campaigns. An estimated $6 million combined was spent.

The race was especially notable for the negative tone. Attack ads blanketed airwaves with each candidate accusing the other of lying.

Democrats hammered Hamilton as an abortion opponent an anti-union.

But Hamilton responded with ads trying to link Turner to a criminal case involving ghost payrolling that led to her husband, Cecil, being indicted in 2006. He wound up serving prison time. Hamilton also raised issues related to Turner’s previous work at the Illinois Department of Public Health.

In response, Turner ran ads saying Hamilton was desperate and calling the attacks “sad.”

Turner was appointed to the seat in 2021, replacing Democrat Andy Manar when he took a job with the Pritzker Administration. Before then, she served on both the Springfield City Council and Sangamon County Board.

Hamilton, who was appointed to the Illinois House replacing Mike Murphy, is a realtor and has also been a longtime volleyball coach.

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