The 12th congressional district has a new representative for the first time in more than 20 years.
After a close battle, William Enyart (D-Belleville) had 50 percent of the polls at 137,562 votes when 99 percent of precincts had reported. Candidate Jason Plummer (R-O’Fallon) came in with 45 percent of the vote, and Paula Bradshaw, the Green Party candidate from Carbondale had 6 percent.
With 85 percent of votes compiled, Enyart won 49.6 percent of Jackson County while Plummer took 40.33 percent.
Illinois’ southwestern tip makes up the district. Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) announced last year he would not seek re-election after representing the district since 1988.
Republicans represented the district for 30 years before Costello took the seat in 1993. Costello said he supported Enyart but expected the numbers to be even closer than they were.
“I feel great about the election,” Costello said. “I endorsed him, and I had a feeling he would win.”
Costello said he is excited to work with Enyart.
“I think that despite joining the race late, he got the communication out about his candidacy and ideas across. He will do an excellent job with our district,” he said. “I look forward to assisting William Enyart in the upcoming weeks and months of his term.”
Enyart told the Associated Press when he entered the race, he did it to win.
“We had a lot of volunteers throughout the district,” he said. “There was a tremendous outpouring of support, and the polls have been moving steadily in our direction.”
Retired Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart of the Illinois National Guard is an SIUC Law School alumnus who served as principal adviser on military matters for the governor’s cabinet.
Plummer, the unsuccessful 2010 Republican lieutenant governor candidate, is vice president of corporate development at his family’s R.P. Lumber, and is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves at Scott Air Force Base.
Phone calls to Plummer’s campaign managers were not returned by press time.
Both Enyart and Plummer were criticized during the race for negative campaigning.
WSIL reported that $7.3 million was spent on the race between the two parties. For Plummer, $194,000 was spent on support compared to the $2.8 million spent on opposing him. The numbers were similar with $335,000 spent on supporting Enyart compared to the $3.9 million spent against him, according to WSIL.
Plummer released a statement Oct. 30 that accused Enyart of taking money from taxpayers because Plummer said the candidate and his wife, who was a judge, were drawing on three taxpayer pensions. Enyart rebuttled Oct. 31 by claiming Plummer lied and tried to launch a public attack on he and his wife. Enyart also said at a press conference that Plummer cheated on his tax returns, a charge he had also made earlier in the campaign.
Plummer did not release his tax returns, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Democratic and Republican candidates received most of the votes in the race compared to votes for the Green Party candidate.
Bradshaw worked as an emergency room nurse and advocated throughout her campaign for measures that affect the environment and the economy.
Although she did not win Tuesday’s election, Bradshaw said she was glad she ran.
“I brought up a lot of things that the other candidates never talked about at all,” she said.
Bradshaw said issues she discussed in debates such as global warming and fossil fuel use were key to the election.
“I think it’s very important for green voices to be heard,” she said.
She said she thinks the Democratic and Republican party candidates don’t discuss the issues because of sponsorship obligations.
“They’re bought out,” she said. “They’re paid for by the corporations, including the most profitable oil companies in the world, like banks and oil companies.”
Of the results for Bradshaw, Madison County had the most votes with 2,917. She said that may have been because the last debate was held there.
Although this election didn’t end in a win for Bradshaw, she said she’ll definitely run again.