Schakowsky, Gabel win re-election by wide margins


Colin Boyle / Daily Senior Staffer

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) at her election night party Tuesday. Schakowsky and State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) both won re-election by over 40 points.

Alex Wong, Reporter

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) and State Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) won re-election on Tuesday by over 40 point margins.

Gabel and Schakowsky attended a watch party hosted by the Democratic Party of Evanston at Rock ‘N Ravioli, 1012 Church St., to say thank you to campaign volunteers and talk to constituents.

Schakowsky defeated Arlington Heights pastor John Elleson by 46 points. Elleson, who didn’t have any previous political experience, ran on a pro-Trump campaign with a priority on creating bipartisanship.

Schakowsky, who will enter her 11th term in Congress since entering office in 1999, said she was “thrilled” to win. She said she wasn’t surprised by the result — she has received over 65 percent of the vote in each of her elections since 1998 — and had put in effort to support other Illinois Democrats to flip the House.

“It’s one thing to get reelected, it’s another to get reelected and be in the majority,” Schakowsky told The Daily. “It can make such a difference in our country if Democrats can inject some checks and balances on the president and on Republicans.”

Members of the Democratic Party of Evanston spoke of Schakowsky’s long-term role in leading their party. Gabel called Schakowsky the party’s “godmother,” and Evanston resident Lori Keenan emphasized Schakowsky’s leadership skills.

“Jan isn’t just an important symbol around Evanston, but throughout the nation,” Keenan said. “And I think it’s mainly because she listens and understands people.”

Gabel defeated Julie Cho, a Republican from Wilmette, by a margin of 42 points. Cho had campaigned on ending partisan districting and improving to school safety, while Gabel campaigned on increasing financial stability and rebuilding human services such as mental health programming in Illinois.

Gabel, who was first elected to office in 2010, has won every midterm with over 60 percent of the vote or has run unopposed.

While watching the midterm election results, Schakowsky and Gabel said President Donald Trump’s divisive policies had pushed Democratic voters toward polls with more urgency.

“A lot of this election day has to do with Trump,” Schakowsky said. “A lot of people voted to challenge the ugliness that we’ve seen… I think a major part of this has been a resistance to Trump.”

The pair also said they hoped the Democrat-majority House will be able to push back against Trump’s policies.

“I think it’ll be hard for the House to accomplish anything, but I hope they’ll be a tempering influence,” Gabel said. “This sets the stage for 2020.”

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