U.S. Rep. John Shimkus will return for a ninth term in his new 15th Congressional District, as projected by the Associated Press.
Shimkus faced Democratic challenger Angela Michael, a local activist who said she ran to draw attention to her focus issues of stopping abortion and fighting human rights abuses.
With 598 of 847 precincts reporting, here are the vote totals:
Shimkus: 142,602, or 69 percent.
Michael: 65,227, or 31 percent.
With the redistricting of the new 15th Congressional District, about 40 percent of the territory will be new to Shimkus as it sprawls across 32 counties.
"It's a new district, it's more conservative and obviously they were very generous," Shimkus said.
Michael acknowledged early on that her candidacy had little chance of defeating the popular Shimkus, and indeed much of Shimkus' time has been devoted to helping Republican candidates in surrounding districts. He campaigned regularly with and endorsed Jason Plummer in the 12th Congressional District to the south and his own aide, Rodney Davis, who was selected to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson as the Republican candidate for the 13th Congressional District.
Shimkus said right away, the new Congress will face challenges with expiring tax cuts and the so-called "fiscal cliff."
"We have a lot of things coming even before the next president gets sworn in," Shimkus said.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2501.