U.S. Rep. Sean Casten handily defeated U.S. Rep. Marie Newman in Tuesday’s Democratic primary in the 6th Congressional District, with Newman conceding and pledging to support Casten in the November general election.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Casten had 68.1% to Newman’s 28.8%. Casten is seeking his third term in Congress.
Speaking to supporters outside her Countryside campaign headquarters after calling Casten to concede, Newman said, “Unfortunately we did not get the result we wanted. But that’s OK. I just got off the phone with Sean and congratulated him on winning this race.
“While this is not the result we want, we now have to unite. I know it’s going to hurt a little bit for some folks, but I really need you to do it.”
Casten did not appear after Newman conceded and his campaign held no election night party. His 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, was found dead two weeks ago, the congressman saying she died peacefully in her sleep.
The congressman instead released a statement saying “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.”
He added: “To all who have reached out in recent weeks with their condolences, prayers, support, and love, my family and I are forever grateful. More than anything else, thank you to all who participated in this election. You are the reason democracy works.”
Of all the congressional contests in Illinois, the 6thÂ district was the only one to feature two Democratic incumbents going head to head, the product of redistricting by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly.
On the Republican side, with 99% of precincts reporting, the top GOP primary vote-getter was Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau with 46%. In second place was Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso with nearly 24%, trailed by four others: energy consultant Niki Conforti of Glen Ellyn; general contractor Rob Cruz of Oak Lawn; realty company owner Catherine O’Shea of Oak Lawn; and Orland Park engineer and lawyer Scott Kaspar — who got campaign help from ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s onetime attorney.
Casten and Newman both arrived in Congress after beating veterans.
Casten beat U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a conservative Republican, in 2018. Newman took down U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a conservative Democrat, in 2020 in her second try for his 3rdÂ Congressional District seat, pounding him over his stance against abortion rights.
A third Democrat in Tuesday’s primary, Southwest Sider Charles Hughes, drew 3.1% of the vote. He was once a precinct captain for Lipinski’s father, a retired congressman.
With the redistricting — done every decade to reflect population changes — Newman’s home landed in the 4th Congressional District.
With that district already represented by U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a popular Democrat, and the 3rd Congressional District laid out to elect another Latino to Congress, Newman opted to run in the redrawn 6th.
The district includes parts of the Southwest Side as well as part or all of Alsip, Palos Heights, Tinley Park and, in DuPage County, Oak Brook and Wheaton, among other communities.
The race focused in part on ethics: the U.S. House Ethics Committee’s investigation into Newman and an aide hired by her campaign.
Newman is accused of promising a potential political rival a job on her government staff if he didn’t run against her. The man, Iymen Chehade, sued Newman to enforce the job arrangement, and after the case was settled he was hired by her campaign.
Chehade also ran in the 3rdÂ Congressional District’s Democratic primary Tuesday, and ended up third out of four candidates, according to unofficial returns.
In the 11thÂ 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 14thÂ 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.