U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger easily withstood a challenge from Rockford immigration attorney Sara Dady to win his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The race was called with about 60 percent of the precincts reporting, with about 80 percent reporting, Kinzinger had grabbed 59.8 percent of the vote.
The Channahon Republican has represented the 16th Congressional District for three terms after serving his first in the 11th District.
Kinzinger had defeated Oswego Republican James Marter in the primary, while Dady knocked off three Democrats – Neill Mohammad, Amy Murri Briel and Beth Vercolio-Osmund – on March 20 to earn a shot at the incumbent.
In a conference call, Kinzinger said it was a great night for his camp, but called what was happening nationally "a split decision".
"It was nice to get a win by a sizable margin – it reaffirms the hard work I've done and our great team," Kinzinger said. "It appears, however, that the House will lose its majority, but it's been a great night for the Senate so far."
At presstime, many major news sources were projecting that the Democrats would flip the House, a development that must be considered a referendum on the presidency, Kinzinger said.
"Democrats were motivated, and although good policies have come from the administration, people are disgusted by some of the president's language. We have to show respect for each other, and the president has to take the lead," Kinzinger said.
Kinzinger had some words of praise for Dady, who put together a formidable grassroots campaign supported by small contributors.
"My opponent ran a hard race and she was very passionate about what she believes in," Kinzinger said.
Even with a Democratic majority in the House, Kinzinger is hopeful that the GOP can continue to build on economic gains made by the Trump administration and find bipartisan support on key issues.
"We must reach out to the other side of the aisle on issues such as infrastructure, education and fixing health care," Kinzinger said.
Health care became the central issue in the race. Dady supported a universal health care system, saying that rising premiums are unsustainable and health care is the single biggest barrier to job growth.
Kinzinger voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, citing the loss of preferred plans, forced doctor changes and high deductibles. He wants to get rid of parts of Obamacare while retaining protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
The candidates also had very different views on just about everything from immigration to tariffs and organized labor.
Kinzinger admits that he has softened on tariffs. Historically a free trade supporter, he now says there is a need to level the playing field in some areas, such as technology and intellectual property.
The incumbent was able to overcome Dady's accusations that Kinzinger doesn't spend enough time in his district and consequently has lost touch with the needs of his constituents.
Dady was unavailable for comment at presstime.