Biss beats Farkas in landslide victory for state Senate seat

Manuel Rapada and Jia You

State Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie) beat Republican challenger Glenn Farkas by a nearly two-to-one margin Tuesday for the 9th District Illinois state senate seat to be vacated by retiring state senator Jeffrey Schoenberg.

As of 12:31 a.m. Wednesday, Biss received 66.64 percent of the vote compared to Farkas’ 33.36 percent, according to the Cook County clerk’s office website. All 168 precincts were reporting as of that report.

Minutes after NBC News projected that President Barack Obama would be re-elected, Biss addressed the crowd at a Democratic watch party at Prairie Moon restaurant.

“Thank you so much,” Biss said. “I feel like I am about to exhale for the first time in six months.”

At one point, more than 100 Democratic supporters were at the watch party wearing Obama T-shirts and buttons and collectively talking a little louder than the booming election day music blaring from the TVs.

Earlier Tuesday evening, Debra Shore, a candidate for commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, thanked everyone in attendance for their support and volunteerism in the past weeks and months.

“I want you to know that tonight I’m in a room full of winners,” Shore said. “(Because) it’s not about the candidates tonight, it’s about you and it’s about our nation and all of the investment that you’ve made in making this nation great.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Shore received the most votes in the “vote for three” race.

Biss told the audience of adults —  and the occasional teen or toddler — that the results coming in were “extremely positive.”

In contrast, there was little to cheer about at the Republican watch party held at Gusto Italiano Ristorante in Glenview.

At one point, Biss obtained a more than two-to-one advantage over Farkas and maintained a significant lead over the Republican candidate throughout the night.

Farkas told The Daily he was “running an uphill battle” as the replacement candidate for Mark Levine, who withdrew from the race after the Republican primary. Farkas said his campaign did all it could in the short amount of time it had.

“The numbers are what the numbers are,” he said. “I’m very competitive. I don’t want to lose … It just means we start tomorrow, we look at the numbers and figure out where to go from here.”

In addition, Farkas said Illinois voters need to “wake up” to the state’s corruption and financial woes.

“Do they like running $10 billion deficits?” Farkas said. “Do they like being in the most corrupt state of the union? … Maybe there’s just not enough pain yet. The voters have not experienced enough financial, emotional pain yet. And when they do maybe we’ll have an opportunity.”

Although Biss said he’s developed a reputation of being a pessimist discussing the state’s financial challenges, he would not be a lawmaker if he was not optimistic “about the opportunities that lie before us in this state and in this country and on this planet.”

In his speech late Tuesday night to Democratic supporters, Biss thanked those in attendance for their work.

“And our work together going forward is going to be what is necessary to bring this country back to a place of economic growth, of shared prosperity and social justice in every single one of those streets,” he said.