Democrat Michael Hastings could claim a narrow reelection win in a state Senate race in the south suburbs after officials reported updated vote totals Tuesday, overcoming accusations of domestic violence to edge Republican challenger Patrick Sheehan.
In a statement, Sheehan said he had conceded the race. The concession came hours after Will County officials released the results of their tabulation of hundreds of ballots from the Nov. 8 election.
The updated results show Hastings with a nearly 1,000-vote advantage out of more than 82,000 ballots that were cast in the 19th Illinois Senate District, which includes parts of Will and Cook counties. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Hastings had 41,808 votes (50.6%) to 40,870 for Sheehan (49.4%).
Hastings has denied accusations of two instances of physical assault lodged by his ex-wife.
In continuing to run for reelection, Hastings ignored a call for his resignation from Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker.
Hastings was one of the most powerful Democrats in the Illinois Senate when the abuse accusations against him became public this summer. The 42-year-old military veteran and attorney was first elected a decade ago, becoming one of the youngest state senators in Illinois history and later rising to a leadership position with the Senate Democrats.
But he dropped out of a run for Illinois secretary of state and was forced to step down from the Senate Democrats’ leadership team amid a series of complaints that emerged publicly in recent months.
In a police report filed by his then-wife in June 2021, she accused Hastings of assaulting her at their home in Frankfort. After reports about that incident in the summer, Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, forced Hastings to step down as majority whip, and Pritzker called for Hastings to quit the Senate in September.
A second accusation of domestic violence was unearthed in the weeks before the election. Hastings filed for divorce last year, but his lawyers convinced a judge in Will County to seal the case file. In September, WBEZ went to court to get the divorce file unsealed.
In the court documents, which were made public Oct. 25, Kathleen Hastings’s lawyer alleged that “Michael cannot control his anger in front of the children,” had “elbowed Kate in the face in front of the children” and called her profane, misogynistic terms in the children’s presence many times in the months after he filed for divorce in April 2021.
Hastings also denied accusations from former chief of staff Cassandra Matz and veteran Springfield lobbyist Jen Walling.
But state records show taxpayers shelled out nearly $150,000 in settlement payments and to cover the bills from an outside attorney who represented Hastings in the civil discrimination case brought by Matz.
Walling told WBEZ in September that Hastings — who is chairman of the important Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee — yelled at her, pounded his hands on a table in a meeting and approached her in a menacing manner during policy disagreements in Springfield in the past five years.
Dan Mihalopoulos is an investigative reporter on WBEZ’s Government & Politics Team. Follow him on Twitter @dmihalopoulos.