Veteran Republican Keith Sommer won his 12th term in the Illinois Statehouse, topping Democratic challenger Karla Bailey-Smith and Libertarian Ken Allison on Tuesday.
Sommer garnered 60% of the vote, followed by Bailey-Smith's 35%, and Allison with 5%.
The 88th House District, which Sommer has represented since reapportionment a decade ago, includes parts of Bloomington, as well as Washington, Morton and large parts of rural McLean and Tazewell counties.
The real estate broker from Morton said he thinks he won because he is fair.
“I work at representing the people. Certainly everyone doesn’t agree with me. I try hard, and my job is to represent them to the best of my ability, and I think I do that,” said Sommer, who brushed off charges by his opponents that he hasn’t been responsive or accessible to voters. He said his small staff has worked extremely hard during extraordinary times to give good constituent service amid the pandemic.
“It was a challenge to keep up with it,” he said. “Maybe someone thought they should be called back within the hour when there’s a whole queue of people in front of them and didn’t get a call for a day or so. We did the best we could."
Bailey-Smith was able to poll 52% of the vote among the 88th’s 30 precincts in her home community of Bloomington, but Sommer dominated every other region of the district.
This was the second consecutive term Sommer has been challenged after not having a general election opponent since the district was redrawn a decade ago. He defeated Democrat Jill Blair in 2018.
This race was the first political effort for both Bailey-Smith and Allison.