Democratic newcomer takes 17th District in the closely watched Congressional race

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 1:53 AM CST
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UPDATE (10:00 a.m. Wed) - Esther Joy King’s campaign says she has conceded. The campaign tells 25 News King made the call Wednesday morning. Sorensen already declared victory.

(25 News Now) - Democrat Eric Sorensen declared victory early Wednesday over Republican Esther Joy King in the new 17th Congressional District.

Republicans were counting on the race to be a springboard for the GOP to take control of the U.S. House by flipping a seat now held by Democrat Cheri Bustos, who did not seek re-election.

The contest was considered so important that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Normal last Friday to raise money for King’s campaign.

King has yet to concede, but Sorenson sent out a statement declaring victory just before 1:30 a.m.

“From day one, we said this campaign was about electing a Representative who was known and trusted. It was about protecting our democracy and securing reproductive rights. It was about making sure that our incredible communities are sustainable for generations to come. I am honored to be the Congressman-Elect for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.

“Today we say loud and clear: this place is special and it’s going to be represented by someone who’s spent nearly their entire life living, working, and actively engaging in our community here, and will make sure that our community has a seat at the table. I am excited to carry on the mantle of Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and the late, great Congressman Lane Evans. I will work every day to represent our communities proud and to continue their legacies in Congress.

To the thousands of grassroots supporters across Central & Northwest Illinois who are a part of our team – the volunteers, donors, staff members, our incredible friends in organized labor, I am incredibly grateful for your time and support. I want to thank my partner Shawn and my family for their love and support throughout this process. To the wonderful people of Central & Northwest Illinois – this is for you.”

The new 17th district was drawn up in a C-shaped configuration, which includes parts of Bloomington and Peoria to the south, and includes Canton, Galesburg and the Quad Cities to the west, and Freeport and the Rockford area to the north.

Sorensen, a former TV meteorologist, is a newcomer to the political scene.

King is a lawyer who suffered a narrow loss to Congresswoman Bustos two years ago.