By Sophia Tareen, Carmi Times
U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean conceded Tuesday night to Republican challenger Joe Walsh in the tightly-fought race for Illinois’ 8th Congressional District seat.
After the completion of ballot counting in each county of the district, Bean said she called Walsh Tuesday night on her return to Illinois and congratulated him on his election.
Bean said she would hold a news conference Wednesday morning in Schaumburg, Ill.
Walsh had a nearly 300-vote lead over the Democratic incumbent earlier Tuesday, according to unofficial vote totals released by three counties.
Walsh, a tea-party backed candidate, had 98,115 votes in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties, compared with the three-term incumbent’s 97,825. Tuesday was the deadline for absentee ballots to arrive; provisional ballots were also included in the counts.
The Palatine Tea Party issued a statement late Tuesday calling Walsh’s victory “a huge win for all the grassroots organizations that supported Walsh.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also issued a statement on Walsh’s victory.
“I would like to congratulate Representative-elect Joe Walsh for his victory today in Illinois’ Eighth District Congressional race. Although it took a few weeks to count all the votes, Illinoisans made their voices heard that they will no longer tolerate the reckless big government, tax and spend policies in Washington,” Steele said.
Both Bean and Walsh were in Washington on Tuesday.
Walsh declared victory shortly after the Nov. 2 election. His win means the state’s 19-member congressional delegation will have 11 Republicans, contributing to the state’s first GOP majority for Illinois in seven years.
In Lake County, Walsh had 55,148 votes compared with Bean’s 52,026, according to updated results on Lake County’s clerk website. In McHenry County, Walsh had 19,119 compared with Bean’s 15,774, according to the clerk on Tuesday evening. In Cook County, Walsh had 23,848 votes compared with Bean’s 30,025, according to Cook County Board of Elections spokeswoman Courtney Greve.
Election authorities in those counties have a Nov. 23 deadline to certify results with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
On Election Day, Illinois mirrored national trends with voter discontent and a national anti-incumbency mood contributing to Republican wins, including Republican Mark Kirk’s win over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate Seat.
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