Bost, Davis both survive tough campaigns to win re-election to Congress

Brendan Kelly concedes to Mike Bost in 12th

Democrat Brendan Kelly concedes to Mike Bost in the race for the Illinois 12th Congressional District Tuesday night.
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Democrat Brendan Kelly concedes to Mike Bost in the race for the Illinois 12th Congressional District Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost has claimed another term in Congress as he declared victory Tuesday night in the 12th Congressional District, according to Tuesday’s unofficial results.

With 649 out of 649 precincts reporting, Bost, R-Murphysboro, had received: 134,009 votes, and led Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly, who had received 116,985 votes.

Green Party candidate Randy Auxier had 7,823 votes.

“I’m incredibly proud of the campaign we put together. We fought hard, focused on the issues, and always made Southern Illinois values our top priority,” Bost said in a statement. “I congratulate Brendan Kelly on a hard-fought campaign. It’s the honor of a lifetime serving Southern Illinois in our nation’s capital, and I’m looking forward to doing so for another term.”

The Kelly campaign conceded shortly after 10:30 p.m.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Kelly said. “I met so many different people across Southern Illinois, I have no regrets, I was honored to be the party’s candidate here in a tough district, I think we gave it our all, I have no regrets, (and) everyone worked really really hard. The thing that breaks my heart the most is the volunteers who put so much of their heart into this race, helping us. And they don’t see the result they were hoping for.”

The race in the 12th featured attacks on Kelly’s record as a prosecutor and examination of Bost’s record as a legislator. Money flowed in from outside groups looking to sway voters’ opinions including television and digital ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund, a GOP-aligned super PAC, as well as the Democratically aligned House Majority PAC.

The Kelly campaign itself spent more than $3 million, the Bost campaign spent $2.3 million through Oct. 17, according to Federal Elections Commission records.

Both Bost and Kelly had national names come to the district for campaign events. Kelly had former Vice President Joe Biden and civil rights icon John Lewis headline get out the vote rallies. Former President Barack Obama also recorded robo calls supporting Kelly.

Trump came twice to the 12th district in southwest Illinois, once in July to celebrate jobs coming back to the Granite City Works steel mill, and once in October in Murphysboro to encourage people to vote for Bost and other Republicans.

“I think that had an impact on this race and in the end had the most significant impact,” Kelly said.

Bost also had fundraisers in the district with Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Officials from the Bost and Kelly campaigns expected a close election.

And both sides on social media touted ground game efforts of going door to door to encourage voters to head to the polls.

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Illinois 12th Congressional District candidate Brendan Kelly is welcomed by supporters at his election night event in Belleville. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

Illinois 13th Congressional District: Rodney Davis vs. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis is projected to a fourth term in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis had 135,092 votes and Democratic challenger Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan who had 127,691 votes, according to unofficial totals tabulated by CNN.

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Illinois’ 13th Congressional District race Betsy Dirksen Londrigan Democrat and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville. Derik Holtmann dholtmann@bnd.com

The 13th District was also expected to be close and was listed as one of the DCCC targeted districts to flip. The race has centered around health care.

Both campaigns spent heavily. As of Oct. 17, Davis had spent more than $3 million in this cycle. Londrigan had spent more than $2.9 million, according to FEC data.

The 13th district, which covers central Illinois stretches from the metro-east to Champaign and includes Edwardsville, Bloomington and Springfield.

Illinois 15th Congressional District: John Shimkus vs. Kevin Gaither

Incumbent U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, who has received had 150,938 votes, has declared victory in the 15th Congressional District.

Democratic challenger Kevin Gaither of Charleston had 60,704 votes, according to unofficial results tabulated by CNN.

“I’m thankful to the people of the central and southern Illinois for allowing me to continue representing them in Washington, and I promise to continue doing so honestly, with passion, and with a good work ethic. It’s an honor to serve in Congress and I pray God will continue helping me do so to the best of my ability,” Shimkus said.

The 15th stretches from Collinsville, to the Indiana border in southeastern Illinois.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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John Shimkus, Republican for U.S. House in Illinois’ 15th district and Kevin Gaither, Democrat for U.S. House in Illinois’ 15th district Provided