Pritzker grad not conceding after AP calls narrow race for Dem opponent


Graphic by Emma Ruck

Esther Joy King (Pritzker ’13), who ran against U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) for a spot in Congress. Though the Associated Press called the race for Bustos on Thursday morning, King has not yet conceded.

James Pollard, Reporter

Esther Joy King, a Northwestern Law School graduate seeking to bring Republican leadership to Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, has not conceded the race, even after the Associated Press called it for her Democratic opponent. She lost to U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline), the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Though the district — encompassing parts of northeast Illinois — went for President Donald Trump in 2016, the non-partisan Cook Political Report ranked it as lean Democratic. A King victory would have added to the already historic number of Republican women headed to Congress in January. And in an election cycle that has seen Republicans make surprising gains in the House, a Bustos loss would have been a huge pickup for the GOP.

Bustos, a four-term incumbent, holds an 11,000 vote lead and 52 percent of the vote, with 91 percent of the estimated total reported. But shortly after the race was called Thursday morning, the King campaign issued a statement.

“With vote-by-mail ballots still incomplete there is no good reason to end this campaign,” King campaign manager Eric Anderson said in the statement. “When it is appropriate — and that time is when all the votes are counted — Esther will respond accordingly. Until then, the election authorities must do their job, ensure voters are heard, and ensure that ballot security is a primary consideration.”

Before running for office, King (Pritzker ’13) served as an aid worker in Kabul, Afghanistan. After earning her J.D. and master’s of law in taxation from NU, she joined Kirkland & Ellis as an associate and later worked at Illinois’ Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology.

King is also a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and currently practices law in Moline, Illinois.

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Twitter: @pamesjollard

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