Esther King Wins Republican Primary in Key Illinois US House District

Esther King Wins Republican Primary in Key Illinois US House District
A voter fills out his ballot during the primary election in Ottawa, Ill., on March 17, 2020. (Daniel Acker/Reuters)
Cara Ding

Esther King on June 28 won Illinois’ Congressional District 17 (CD 17) Republican primary.

She will face the winner in the Democratic primary, which was too early to call as of 9:29 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

With 13 percent of the ballots reported at 9:30 p.m. ET on June 28, King earned more than 68 percent of the votes, besting Charlie Helmick.

Illinois CD 17 is considered a competitive House seat that could go either way in the general election, based on its performances in the last two presidential elections.

It was one of seven districts nationwide that went for former President Donald Trump while picking a Democrat to go to Congress in 2020. Last year, the Democratic-controlled state legislature redrew the district to make it more favorable to Democratic candidates.

Esther King, a real estate lawyer and former Army captain, had long been the frontrunner in the GOP primary. She far outraised any other candidate in the race, at $2.7 million as of June 8, according to campaign finance data published by Federal Election Commission (FEC).

She was endorsed by high-profile national Republicans, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.

King ran for the same seat four years ago, losing to Democratic incumbent Cheri Bustos by 4 points.

Bustos decided not to seek reelection after serving five terms, leaving an open seat that has attracted six Democratic candidates.

Eric Sorensen, a meteorologist at several local stations for over 20 years, started the primary race with better name recognition than others. His top issues are climate change, enhancing the Affordable Care Act, and education.

He raised the most money among the Democratic contenders, at $450,665 as of June 8, according to FEC.

Jonathan Logemann, a teacher, former alderman, and veteran, ran on a union-friendly platform to rebuild the manufacturing sector, invest in workforce training, and cut taxes on the middle class.

Logemann scored two dozen union endorsements, including from the Illinois Education Association and Illinois AFL-CIO. He raised $375,563 as of June 8, according to the FEC.

Other Democratic contenders are university professor and Rock Island County board member Angie Normoyle, former state representative and former Lieutenant Governor candidate Litesa Wallace, former stockbroker and cannabis expert Jackie McGowan, and trade school admissions advisor Marsha Williams.