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No surprises in area Illinois primary races: Shimkus, Davis advance

Democrat Tammy Duckworth, left, will fact Republican incumbent Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate in Illinois.
Official photos
Democrat Tammy Duckworth, left, will fact Republican incumbent Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate in Illinois.

The area races in the Illinois primary election Tuesday saw the favorites and incumbents winning handily. While unsurprising, Tuesday’s election results did set up competitive races for both the U.S. Senate and at least one state Senate in southern Illinois.

Local U.S. Reps easily advance to the general election

Two local Republican U.S. representatives faced primary challenges. In the 13th district, incumbent Rodney Davis easily defeated Ethan Vandersand, a pharmacist from Carrollton.

Southern Illinois' congressional districts 2016
Credit Wikipedia
Southern Illinois' congressional districts 2016

Democrat Mark Wickland ran unopposed in his party’s primary and will challenge Davis in November. David Gill, a doctor from Bloomington, intends to run as an independent in the general election. He narrowly lost to Davis in 2012, running as a Democrat.

In the 15th district, 10-term incumbent held off an aggressive challenge from state Sen. Kyle McCarter. Running to Shimkus’ right, McCarter labeled him as a career politician and hit him for voting for the recent omnibus spending bill and on the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. McCarter had receiving support from such conservative groups as the Club for Growth and the Eagle Forum.

Shimkus will run unopposed in November, as no Democrats filed for the race.

Kirk vs. Duckworth for the U.S. Senate

Both Democrat Tammy Duckworth and Republican Mark Kirk easily won their primaries Tuesday, setting up a high stakes race in November that could affect which party controls the U.S. Senate in 2017.

Duckworth, who has represented suburban Chicago in the U.S. House since 2013, handily defeated former Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp and state Sen. Napoleon Harris.

Kirk defeated entrepreneur James Marter of Oswego.

While each faced primary challengers, both Duckworth and Kirk have been running campaigns focused on November. Each has already criticized the other on several issues, foreshadowing an expensive and aggressive general election campaign.

Democrat Sheila Simon will face Republican Paul Schimpf for the 58th Illinois state Senate seat.
Credit Wikipedia and campaign photo
Democrat Sheila Simon will face Republican Paul Schimpf for the 58th Illinois state Senate seat.

Schimpf and Simon set up competitive contest in the 58th

Waterloo Attorney Paul Schimpf handily defeated Sharee Langenstein of Murphysboro  in the Republican primary for the 58th state Senate District.

Schimpf will face former Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon in the general election. Simon ran unopposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

The 58th district includes parts of eight southern Illinois counties, including St. Clair and Monroe counties. Long-time Republican Sen. Dave Luechtefeld is retiring. 

Both candidates ran for statewide office in 2014, and the general election campaign is expected to be both competitive and expensive. Simon lost her bid for state comptroller in 2014 while Schimpf lost the race for state attorney general.

In a telephone interview prior to Tuesday’s primary, Schimpf said a race between him and Simon will offer southern Illinoisans two candidates with distinct and differing opinions.

“Sheila and I occupy very different spaces on the political spectrum. That’s a good thing. Voters of the district will have a definite choice,” he said.

Schimpf said he got to know Simon on the campaign trail in 2014 and is looking forward to the upcoming race.

“It’s the campaign where we think, ‘This is what we want.’ We have two candidates with very different visions who are not just going to attack each other personally, who are going to say this is what I stand for and this is why you should vote for me.” 

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