Democrat Bill Enyart will take over for retiring U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello in Illinois’ 12th congressional district.
As of 1:00 a.m. this morning, Enyart had a commanding 50 percent to 44 percent lead over Republican challenger Jason Plummer. Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw pulled in six percent of the vote.
While the AP gave the race to Enyart and the candidate declared victory, Plummer gave a speech at 10:20 p.m. where he did not concede.
As Progress Illinois looked at last week, this race was largely about who would be the best steward of Southwest Illinois’ struggling coal-based economy. Enyart, who like Costello is from Belleville, ran on a platform of investing in clean coal technology.
Plummer of Edwardsville, meanwhile, questioned the existence of climate change and touted the natural resources of southwest Illinois.
PI was unable to get a hold of either Enyart or Plummer late tonight, so check back in tomorrow for comment from the candidates. However, we did talk to Bradshaw who excoriated both major party contenders' fondness for coal.
“I made a contribution in this race because I was the only candidate who brought up global warming,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw said that she took no solace in the Democratic Party having a fairly strong evening, attacking President Barack Obama, who won re-election, for his record on climate change, civil liberties and use of military drones. “I think Democrats stole my votes,” she said only half-jokingly.
The 12th district was drawn by Springfield Democrats to protect the incumbent Costello, with Democratic-leaning areas such as the St. Louis suburbs. When Costello resigned last fall, the Democrats were caught off-guard.
Their first choice as a replacement, Brad Harriman, dropped out of the race in May, two months after the state primary. Costello himself then convened a panel to select Enyart as his replacement.
Image: Enyart campaign