CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — Jim Oberweis wants a recount.
The Republican candidate in 14th Illinois Congressional District plans to take advantage of an Illinois law that allows for a “discovery recount.” It involves a certain number of precincts to determine if there is a need for a full recount.
“The final vote count to be certified has me down 5,356 votes to Lauren Underwood. With more than more than 400,000 votes cast in the race, the difference between my vote total and her vote total is just over 1 percent or roughly 12 votes per precinct. Illinois election law has provisions to allow parties in a closely contested race to seek a discovery recount and I intend to pursue the legal avenues afforded to me as a candidate for office,” Oberweis said in a statement.
He continued: “In a race this close, we need to be certain the final vote count is correct. A discovery recount does not change a single vote, but it does allow us to see if the outcome might change with a full recount. The robust turnout for the Nov. 3rd Election in the 14th District is a clear indication of the tremendous interest in this race. We owe it to the 400,000 people who voted in this election to do all we can to ensure that the final outcome is the right outcome.”
Incumbent Lauren Underwood is the projected winner. The Associated Press called the race last Thursday afternoon.
On Friday of last week, Oberweis posted a photo of himself at the U.S. Capitol for new member orientation despite the projection that he had lost the race.
As the event only happens once, Oberweis was invited to attend, his campaign said. A spokesperson said Oberweis was urged to attend as the race is still contested with a looming recount. The spokesperson also added that Oberweis was not the only candidate who is involved in a contested race in attendance.
The 14th District is located west of the immediate Chicago area and includes parts of Lake, McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, DuPage, and Will counties from the southern boundary of Kendall County north to the Wisconsin state line.
It is a mix of suburban subdivisions and farms.
“Today, after contacting every County Clerk across the 14th District, I am pleased to say that, with only a handful of outstanding ballots, it appears that I have won a tough fought campaign against Lauren Underwood,” Oberweis said Wednesday. “This race has been an uphill battle to say the least. Lauren Underwood has enjoyed a tremendous financial advantage having outspent me 4-1. But despite all of the money she spent, we prevailed.”
But Underwood was quick to say Oberweis’ declaration was premature and inappropriate.
“Jim Oberweis doesn’t get to call this election: the voters do. There are thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We appreciate every voter who made their voice heard, and our county clerks and election officials must count every ballot in as expeditious and transparent a manner as is possible,” Underwood’s campaign said. “Based on publicly available data, we remain confident that once ballots are counted, this race will reflect that the voters have reelected Congresswoman Lauren Underwood.”
Underwood defeated incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th District in 2018, taking away a seat that had been held by the GOP for all but three years since 1939.
Oberweis has been a state senator since 2013, and has mounted failed bids for the U.S. Senate in 2002, 2004, and 2014; for governor in 2006, and for Congress in 2008.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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