Longtime Congressman Danny Davis wins competitive Democratic primary in Chicago-area district

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois voters are set to decide competitive U.S. House races around the state in Tuesday’s primary election.

The most closely watched races in Illinois include a downstate Republican matchup and two Chicago−area Democratic primaries.

Here’s a closer look:

12TH DISTRICT

In southern Illinois, Republican Rep. Mike Bost faces only his second intraparty challenge in seeking his sixth term in Congress. Former state Sen. Darren Bailey, the unsuccessful 2022 GOP nominee for governor, is hoping to unseat the 63−year−old incumbent.

Bailey, 57, has maintained that Bost is not conservative enough. Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, redrawn after the 2020 Census, now includes a large chunk of southeastern Illinois that gave Donald Trump more than 70% of the vote in both 2016 and 2020. Bailey’s hopes to win the endorsement in this race from the former president were dashed when Trump, the presumptive 2024 presidential nominee, gave his backing to Bost.

The issues are clear in the race: Rebuffing any regulation on the possession of guns, reducing inflation, opposing abortion and sealing the U.S. southern border, a particular problem for Illinois, which has received roughly 36,000 migrants who have largely crossed into Texas and have been sent to Chicago.

Bailey contends Republicans in Congress should fight Democrats’ agenda on these and other issues and cooperate only when they abandon “extreme” positions. Bost opposes Democrats’ policies but calls himself a “governing conservative,” seeking compromise to get things done.

7TH DISTRICT

Longtime Rep. Danny Davis has won the Democratic primary after a competitive five−way primary.

The Democrat who first won office in 1996 had faced questions about his fitness for office at age 82. He said those questions are fair but that his experience is valuable, particularly for leadership on key committees. He’s a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

“I’m one of the most active elected officials I know,” he said while campaigning.

Davis had enthusiastic party backing. Still, the Democrats challenging him hoped there was enough dissatisfaction among voters to help them. Davis was able to fend off a 2022 primary challenge from progressive anti−violence activist Kina Collins, who received about 45% of the vote in the district that includes downtown Chicago and neighborhoods on the south and west sides, along with some suburbs.

The other well−known candidate in the race was Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears−Ervin, a former Davis ally who said it was time for him to be voted out. She had backing from prominent Black pastors and the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.

Since the district is heavily Democratic, Davis is expected to win in November.

Also running were Chicago educator Nikhil Bhatia and Kouri Marshall, a former deputy director for Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

4TH DISTRICT

Three−term Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia has won the Democratic primary against Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez.

The congressman, who dominated in funding and endorsements, was facing his first primary challenger since 2018, when he won congressional office.

Lopez had argued Garcia is no longer the right fit for the district, which is predominantly Hispanic and includes working−class communities and neighborhoods on the city’s southwest side as well as wealthy suburbs.

Lopez, 45, is one of the most conservative members of City Council, often backing police. He has called Garcia an “extreme Democrat.”

Garcia, 67, says voters have repeatedly put him in office, including in 2022 after a remap added new territory to the district. He’s also a former state legislator and city alderman.

Garcia dominated in fundraising, raising $376,000 last year compared to Lopez’s $46,000 in the same time period, according to federal election records. He’s picked up endorsements from labor groups, while Lopez has support from the Chicago police union.

There’s no Republican running in the heavily Democratic district, so Garcia is expected to win outright in November.

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Associated Press political writer John O’Connor contributed to this report from Springfield.

Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press

Photo: AP