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Republican Joe Walsh still leads Rep. Melissa Bean (D) by 291 votes after county clerks in the northern Illinois district counted the last of the absentee and provisional ballots. Walsh finished with 98,115 votes, while Bean finished with 97,824 votes. Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer got 6,495 votes.
This 8th district race is one of several that remain outstanding weeks after the election. The clerks had to receive absentee ballots by Nov. 16 for them to count, so this is the final tally.
In suburban Cook County, the most Democratic part of the district, Bean earned 30,025 votes, and Walsh got 23,848 votes, according to an updated total on the county clerk’s website. In Lake and McHenry counties, however, Walsh finished on top, according to the county clerks’ offices. In Lake County, Walsh finished with 55,148 votes and Bean with 52,025. In McHenry County the Republican got 19,119 votes and the Democrat got 15,774 votes.
The state board must certify results by Dec. 3, and Bean has until Dec. 8 to ask for a recount in up to a quarter of the precincts in each of the three counties.
Both Bean and Walsh came to Capitol Hill this week, Bean for legislative business and Walsh for freshman orientation. Bean flew back to Illinois on Tuesday evening and will hold a press conference in Schaumburg on Wednesday morning.
On Friday, Bean dismissed a rumor that President Barack Obama is considering appointing her chairwoman of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if she loses.
“There are rumors that I don’t know where they’re coming from, so I’m not going to comment at all when we’re in the middle of trying to determine the outcome of this race,” she said on a press call.
Bean has been a perennial target since she knocked off longtime Republican Rep. Phil Crane in 2004. In 2010, though, national Republicans backed away from the race after Walsh won the six-way primary in February, so his win came as a surprise.