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Bush wins in 31st; two GOP incumbents fall

MelindBush candidate for state senate 31st district. | Special Sun-Times Media

Melinda Bush candidate for state senate 31st district. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 7, 2013 1:45AM

GRAYSLAKE — The final sentence in an unexpected chapter of Lake County politics was written Tuesday when Democrat Melinda Bush defeated Republican Joe Neal in the race to succeed Suzi Schmidt in the 31st State Senate District.

With all 132 precincts reporting, early-voting and vote-by-mail totals overcame an Election Day deficit to give Bush a victory with 42,097 votes (51.3 percent) to 39,945 votes (48.6 percent) for Neal.

Schmidt, the former Lake County Board chair who won 53.4 percent of the vote in winning the Senate seat in 2010, began a political downfall in summer 2011 when reports of previous domestic disputes with her husband were made public. Schmidt announced in October 2011 that she would not seek re-election.

Another incumbent in the General Assembly went down to defeat on Tuesday, with Republican Sandy Cole losing the 62nd District race to Democrat Sam Yingling who is Avon Township supervisor. Unofficial returns gave Yingling 20,837 votes (55.3 percent) to 16,833 votes (44.6 percent) for Cole.

Elsewhere in the county, Waukegan Democrat Terry Link won re-election to his fifth term representing the shoreline 30th Senate District by defeating Vernon Township Republican Central Committee Chairman Don Castella. With all 104 precincts reporting, unofficial returns gave Link 41,077 votes (66.5 percent) to 20,625 votes (33.4 percent) for Castella.

In the Illinois House, unofficial returns in the District 60 race showed incumbent Democrat Rita Mayfield winning re-election big with 20,133 votes (74.6 percent) to 6,844 votes (25.3 percent) for Republican Jackie Burleson, who was making his first bid for elective office.

Another Republican incumbent, Sidney Mathias of Buffalo Grove, who has been in the House since 1999, lost to state Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, in the 59th District, the only legislative election that pitted two incumbents against one another. Since July 1, state records show, Sente got more than $591,000 in campaign funds from House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

Also returning to the House is Republican JoAnn Osmond, who won 24,513 votes (56.5 percent) in winning re-election in the 61st House District over Democrat Ed Erwin, who won 18,871 votes (43.5 percent).

In legislative races that touch corners of the county, winners on Tuesday included Democrat Julie Morrison of Deerfield in the 29th Senate District; Republican Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington in the 26th Senate District; Republican David McSweeney of Barrington Hills in the 52nd House District; Democrat Elaine Nekritz in the 57th House District; Democrat Scott Drury in the 58th House District for the seat currently held by Karen May of Highland Park, who decided not to see re-election. Republican Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein won re-election unopposed in the 51st House District.

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