Congressman Danny K. Davis will continue to represent Austin and the rest of the 7th District for the 22nd year following a blow-out election against Republican challenger Craig Cameron.
The win was one of a number of Democratic victories Tuesday, including the party winning majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Democrat J.B. Pritzker’s ousting of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Davis won the seat with 88 percent of the votes, while Cameron secured 12 percent, with 584 of 597 precincts reporting. Voting preference for the longtime congressman increased from 2016, when he received 84 percent of the votes.
Before election results came in, Davis said he hoped there would be enough Democrats elected to the U.S. House for his party to hold a majority, something that would allow him to chair the Subcommittee on Human Resources and grant him greater influence in the House.
Neither Davis nor Cameron responded to calls on election night.
Cameron had not responded to repeated emails and calls to his campaign office over the last two months and had done little to publicly campaign, listing no events on his campaign website or social media accounts. He also declined to attend a Chicago Sun-Times general election endorsement meeting but did submit a questionnaire during the primary election.
But earlier in the year, Cameron told Austin Talks he believes running against Davis will spur the 77-year-old congressman to action. Davis has been criticized by some for having waning influence in the district after holding the seat for two decades.
“The bottom line is things on the South and West sides aren’t getting any better, they’re getting worse,” Cameron said. “That means that something’s not being done correctly, and maybe this will let him know that he has it too easy.”
But recent interviews outside of the 175 W. Washington early voting site indicated some voters were eager to maintain Davis as their representative.
South Loop resident and graphic designer Diego Hernandez said he voted for Davis because he has held the seat for so many years without controversy. Being a traditional Democratic voter, Hernandez said he preferred Davis to first-time candidate Cameron because of the challenger’s lack of experience in the political world.
“I voted for Davis, as I did last (time) because I always prefer him to his Republican opponents, who never seem to make themselves known in the district,” Hernandez said.
Campaign spending remained low this year with Davis reporting he raised $10,900 as of the Sept. 30 quarterly report and an additional $3,000 in contributions since. In mid-October, Davis had $4,519 in unspent funds. Cameron has reported no donations to the Illinois State Board of Elections.