Republican incumbent Dave Severin will return for a second term in the Illinois House of Representatives by winning a decisive victory over Democratic challenger Jason Woolard Tuesday night.
With all precincts counted, Severin won by about 6,000 votes, taking about 57 percent of the total.
Woolard, who was at the Williamson County Democrats' party at Celebrations Event Center in Marion, was disappointed.
"We tried the best we could to make sure the voters understood that we had an agenda that was for the working people of southern Illinois," he said. "They chose to go another direction."
Severin was elated with the victory, sharing the early returns with fellow Republicans at a party at Mackie's Pizza in Marion.
"I'm excited, energized, pumped up and passionate about continuing to work for the 117th," he said. "The people of southern Illinois have spoken. We've accomplished some great things. They want to continue in the direction they're in."
Severin said part of that direction includes "reprioritizing" work that was left unfinished in the last session. "There were some bills that didn't get passed," he said.
Those include a sales tax adjustment that will allow Illinois businesses to compete with out of state bidders and legalizing fireworks.
He also hopes to move forward on securing a gaming license for the proposed resort expansion at Walker's Bluff when the new legislative session begins in January.
"We're going to move forward," he said.
Woolard said he and other Democratic Party officials will need "to evaluate what the voters are saying, assess that, and see how we move forward."
Woolard said being a part of the process has been a great experience. "I still have hope for a bright future here. I look forward to raising my family here and be a part of these great communities," he said.