Morning Digest: Top-tier Democrat who lost 2018 heartbreaker back for a rematch in Illinois


The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

IL-13: On Thursday, 2018 Democratic nominee Betsy Dirksen Londrigan announced that she would seek a rematch against GOP Rep. Rodney Davis. Last year, Londrigan held Davis to a narrow 50.4-49.6 victory in this downstate Illinois seat.

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While Londrigan fell short, DCCC chair Cheri Bustos said in December that she wanted Londrigan to run again, and it's not hard to see why. When the 2018 cycle began, it wasn't at all clear if this seat would be in play. Davis had won his second term decisively against a touted Democratic foe during the 2014 GOP wave, and two years later, he took 60% of the vote against an underfunded opponent. This district, which includes part of Springfield, Bloomington, and Champaign, also had moved in the wrong direction in 2016, going from an extremely narrow 48.9-48.6 Romney win to 50-44 Trump.

Londrigan, who worked as a fundraising consultant before she entered the race, proved to be a strong opponent, though. Londrigan outraised Davis and ran strong ads focusing on health care that described how her son almost died from a rare infection. While the conservative Congressional Leadership Fund released a poll less than a month before Election Day giving Davis a wide 50-37 lead, outside groups from both sides spent heavily here (CLF either didn't buy their own numbers or saw things change fast, since they alone spent $1.7 million to protect Davis). The incumbent still prevailed, but his close call could foreshadow another tight race in 2020.

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