By CARL GREEN
Labor’s Democratic partners in southern Illinois will have work to do to reclaim any of the three Congressional districts that touch on the Metro East area.
All three of the districts had contested Democratic primaries on March 17. Two of them have incumbent Republicans.
LONDRIGAN WILL BATTLE DAVIS AGAIN
Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D-Springfield) will again challenge five-term incumbent Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) in the 13th Congressional District. Starting out virtually unknown two years ago, she almost beat him, coming up short by less than one percent of the vote.
In this primary, she easily swept aside one opponent, Stefanie Smith of Urbana, who campaigned on Medicare for all. Londrigan rolled up heavy majorities including 71 percent in Madison County and 77 percent in Macon County.
Davis was unopposed in the primary. The wide-ranging district includes Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield and Decatur and reaches southward to include Edwardsville and much of Madison County.
Londrigan thanked voters and poll workers for turning out on a day when many were staying home.
“I want to thank the election judges, poll workers, and everyone else who made today possible,” she said. “I also want to thank everyone who voted. Whether by mail, early in-person, or today at the polls, you made your voices heard and your participation is crucial for our democracy.”
LENZI CLAIMS WIN: FUNK NOT CONCEDING
Ray Lenzi (D-Makanda) and Joel Funk (D-Mascoutah) may not know yet which of them is going to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Bost in the 12th Congressional District. At Labor Tribune press time, Lenzi was ahead with 50.5 percent of the votes that had been counted to 49.5 percent for Funk.
Lenzi claimed victory, but with a difference of fewer than 600 votes, according to the Southern Illinoisan, Funk was not ready to concede, saying he would wait for some 2,000 mail-in ballots and provisional ballots from St. Clair County to be counted.
Lenzi started out as a union coal miner but most recently was chair of the Southern Illinois University Research Park Board. He previously served as associate chancellor for economic development.
Funk served in the U.S. Air Force on special operations in the Middle East and now operates his family farm near Mascoutah and works as a financial representative.
TWO FOUR-WAY RACES IN THE 15TH
Erica Weaver, an attorney from Mattoon, emerged victorious with 51 percent of the vote in a four-way race to win the Democratic nomination in the 15th Congressional District, which includes the eastern half of southern Illinois and stretches westward to include Collinsville. Incumbent John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) is not running for re-election.
Weaver will face Mary Miller, a cattle farmer from Oakland, who won her own four-way race for the Republican nomination with 59 percent of the vote.
DURBIN WORKING TO ‘RESTORE THIS NATION’
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will run for re-election again on Nov. 3 against former Chicago-area sheriff Mark Curran, who defeated a string of competitors in the primary.
Durbin issued a statement saying he would work to “restore this nation to the honorable, decent country that we know and love.”