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Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) on Tuesday expressed optimism about Republican Joe Walsh’s shrinking lead in one of seven undecided House races after last week’s elections.
Walsh, who currently is ahead by 347 votes, also announced Tuesday that he will come to Capitol Hill for freshman orientation next week.
“While we wait for additional ballots to be counted, we remain encouraged by the favorable results we've seen in suburban Cook County,” Bean spokeswoman Gabby Adler said in a statement. “In fact, nearly 70 percent of the absentee ballots counted since Election Day in Cook County were cast in support of Congresswoman Bean, which suggests that similar absentee numbers will be reported in Lake and McHenry between now and Nov. 16.”
Absentee ballots in the suburban Chicago district have to be postmarked by Nov. 1 and be received by Nov. 16. The 8th district’s three county clerks then have a few days to report their results to the state board, which must declare its results by Dec. 3. The losing candidate has until Dec. 8 to ask for a recount in up to a quarter of each of the three counties.
Walsh said the ongoing count will favor him.
“Approximately 600 absentee votes will be counted Nov. 16 in Lake and McHenry counties, and we expect our margin to increase when those are tallied and the election results to be certified shortly thereafter,” he wrote in a statement. “In the meantime, I'm preparing to be your representative and will be heading to Washington, DC next week for freshman orientation.”
National Republicans have targeted Bean in her GOP-leaning district since she defeated longtime Republican Rep. Phil Crane in 2004. But this cycle both national parties basically ignored the race and did not spend any significant money here. The National Republican Congressional Committee and other influential GOP groups essentially wrote off the race after Walsh won the six-way primary in February.
Meanwhile, Bean may have started looking for a new job. Politico reported that she’s being considered to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Adler said that speculation was “premature.”
“With every passing day the vote margin continues to shrink, and it is premature to speculate what Congresswoman Bean might do next when election returns are incomplete and ballots are still being counted,” she said in a statement.