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Updated 3/21/2012 4:05 p.m.
Camille Lilly's family started gathering at Maya del Sol Restaurant in Oak Park at around 6 p.m. before polls officially closed in the March 20 Democratic primary.
Lilly, the incumbent state representative for the 78th legislative district, was expected to arrive a little after 7 p.m. when polls closed, but was a no-show. Lilly was going to spend the final day of the campaign at polling places, her campaign said.
While saying hello to voters at the Oak Park Green Line station the day before the election Monday, Lilly said she planned to be "all over the place" Tuesday evening. An hour and half after polls closed, Lilly held a commanding lead over her opponent, Michael Nardello, in the contest. By night's end, Lilly had roughly 8,600 votes to Nardello's tally of about 2,100 as of 9:24 p.m.
She arrived at what turned out to be a festive victory celebration at Maya del Sol, 144 S. Oak Park Ave., at around 8:45 Tuesday evening, joined by state Sen. Don Harmon (39th). Harmon ran uncontested in this year's primary. Lilly's friends, family and supporters were among the 100 or so attendees at the celebration.
Lilly credited her win to reaching out to the people in her district.
"Meeting the people, really listening to what their concerns are, and being optimistic that we can get some things addressed, not all at one time," she said.
Lilly added that the budget was going to be her top priority in the next legislative session. Harmon agreed. Concerning Lilly's win, the senator credited the victory to her "hard work both in Springfield and campaign trail."
"I'm thrilled that she'll be my partner in Springfield for the next two years," Harmon said.
Lilly, an Austin resident, is a founding member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and its former executive director. She's also a longtime administrator at Loretto Hospital in Austin. Lilly is a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School.