CHICAGO (CBS) — The race for the U.S. House in the 14th district is proving to be another close congressional race that is being watched by political onlookers.

Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren faces a surprisingly tough challenge from one of the youngest nominees for congress, Lauren Underwood.

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CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakely spoke to Hultgren after he wrapped up a GOP rally nor far from the Wisconsin border with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan in Spring Grove, Illinois.

Blakley: What’s at stake in this race?

Hultgren: It really is a determination if we’re going to have results, optimism and growth, or are we going to take a step back and have dysfunction, resistance.

Blakley: Hultgren’s opponent, Democrat Lauren Underwood, has hammered the congressman for his vote to repeal Obamacare. But Hultgren denies supporting removal of protections for preexisting conditions.

Hultgren: I’ve said all along repeal and replace and we replaced it with something that absolutely would have protected preexisiting conditions, so no. If we would have stopped at that and not done anything else, maybe you’re right. but that’s not what we did. We took that next step and moved forward.

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Blakley: Hultgren believes believes his constituents have benefited from the Trump tax cut.

Hultgren: 90 per cent of people in the 14th district are seeing a tax cut, a tax reduction. A lot of them will see it more so in April when they file. Again this doubling of individual deduction, the increase of child credit, all this is so good for hard working, middle income, upper income. And the greatest percentage of benefit is to lower income people who are lower in the scale and who aren’t going to have any tax burden whatsoever under this new tax bill.

Blakley: Hultgren doesn’t deny that President Trump’s disruptive leadership style is an issue for voters.

Hultgren: He’s a part of the discussion. He’s not on the ballot. But I think it’s a referendum on whether we want to go forward. If people like small government, they know who to choose. If they want bigger government, more intrusion it our lives by government and bureaucracy, they know who to choose.

Blakley: And when asked for a closing statement, Hultgren said he stands by his record. 

Hultgren: I’ve kept my promises. I told you if you elected me in 2010, I’d fight to lower high unemployment, raise optimism and growth here in America. We’re seeing that happen. It’s going, but there’s so much we need to do. We’ve accomplished so much. ISIS is on their heels. Around the world, America is strong. Our military is strong again. Lets not take a step back.

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