DECATUR — The race for the 13th Congressional District was so close that Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan waited until Wednesday afternoon to concede to incumbent Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville.
Davis claimed victory Tuesday night, but Londrigan told supporters that she wanted to wait to make sure all the ballots were counted.
It had been among the most closely watched congressional races across the country after Democrats identified it as one that could be flipped in their drive to regain control of the House. Both parties poured in money and high-profile endorsements; Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Davis in Springfield in the weeks before the election while U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon, appeared in Decatur to support Londrigan.
In the end, Davis won the district by 2 percentage points, or 2,730 votes, according to unofficial final totals released by The Associated Press. It was the narrowest win he had experienced since he first took the seat in 2012 with a margin just over 1,000 votes.
“Any time you have a close race, you learn,” Davis said, speaking to reporters late Tuesday. “I’ve learned from many of my constituents, from many of their frustrations.”
The good news, he said, is that his office has a track record of success when it comes to helping constituents, sending thousands of email responses each month and talking individually with others.
He pledged to continue offering a high level of service to those constituents and to work in a bipartisan way, though he said he was disappointed to return to a Democrat-controlled House.
“Illinois was not kind to Republicans tonight,” he said.
Davis was among the Republicans publicly praised by President Donald Trump during post-election remarks on Wednesday afternoon. Davis had joined the president at a late October stop in Murphysboro where Trump had rallied support for U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, who also held onto his seat Tuesday.
Trump on Wednesday praised both Davis and Bost, as well as other Republicans he had supported. He also talked about Republicans who “decided not to embrace” Trump and his administration and, he said, lost their districts as a result.
“What we stand for meant a lot to most people,” Trump said. “We’ve had tremendous support and tremendous support in the Republican Party, among the biggest support in the history of the party. ... America is booming like never before.”