Updated 10:35 p.m. March 17
The staunch conservative who narrowly lost to then-Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner two years ago won the GOP nomination in a Chicago suburban congressional district and will face freshman U.S. Rep. Sean Casten in the November general election.
The C-shaped district — which includes Downers Grove, Wheaton, Algonquin, Palatine and many other western and northwest suburbs — had been a Republican stronghold for decades. Then, Casten unseated Peter Roskam in the “blue wave” election in 2018.
On Tuesday night in her victory speech via Facebook Live, Ives said she agreed with Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to go ahead with voting despite the coronavirus outbreak, and she struck a conciliatory tone, saying she would look to work in a bipartisan fashion.
“We need our representatives in Congress to put political differences aside and work toward substantive solutions until we have gotten through the COVID-19 crisis,” Ives said.
She added: “We will have to work together to rebuild our economy, to shore up our health care and social service organizations and to ensure that our transportation systems can operate smoothly once again.”
But in a statement Tuesday evening, Casten immediately went on the attack, seeking to link Ives to Republican President Donald Trump.
“If elected, Jeanne Ives would be another ally of Trump and his dangerous policies,” Casten said. “From not believing the climate crisis is real, to wanting to destroy our health care system, to believing Social Security is a scam, she’s shown that she doesn’t represent the interests of our community.”
To prevent Casten from winning a second term, Ives may have to step up her fundraising. Casten has raised $2.7 million so far, which is triple the amount Ives has brought in for her primary race.
Ives had handily won Chicago’s collar counties during her failed 2018 gubernatorial primary challenge of Rauner, who lost later that year in the general election against Pritzker. Ives ran at Rauner from the far right and is known for her conservative positions on social issues such as abortion.
Becky Vevea covers city of Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter at @beckyvevea.