Voters sent incumbent Jerry Costello II back to Springfield Tuesday, fending off a challenge from Red Bud city councilman David Friess for the Illinois House District 116 seat.
With all 117 precincts reporting, unofficial vote totals show Costello defeating Friess 22,289 to 19,382.
Costello, a Democrat from Smithton, has been representative of the district since 2011, He is a Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate and a former paratrooper with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm.
"While we just experienced a tough campaign, I am grateful that voters looked past the misleading messages in their mailbox and recognized my independent record of fighting for our shared values and against reckless tax increases that would hurt families," Costello said in a statement Wednesday.
"I wish David Friess and his family well, and as a conservative I look forward to working together with Republicans and Democrats to do what is best for Southern Illinois," he added.
Friess, 49, a Red Bud attorney and Air Force veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, ran on the platform of linking Costello of House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, claiming the incumbent voted along Madigan's line at the detriment of southern Illinois. Friess vowed to vote again retaining Madigan as Speaker if he were elected.
Costello countered during the campaign that Friess was absent from almost half of the Red Bud city council meetings in 2017.