Democrat Andy Manar of Bunker Hill claimed victory late last night over republican candidate Mike McElroy. Manar received 55.3% of the votes while McElroy claimed 47.3% of the votes, with 100% of the precincts recording.
The 48th Senate District race was the most expensive legislative contest in the state as the district is made up of large parts of the Springfield area. The Bunker Hill native has plenty of political experience to begin to tackle some of the financial problems in Springfield.
Manar started on the Bunker Hill city council in 1997 and then was elected mayor of Bunker Hill four years later in 2001. Under his leadership as mayor, Bunker Hill started construction of an 18-acre city park and began the largest sidewalk replacement project the city has ever seen.
In 2003, Andy left Bunker Hill to join the Macoupin County Board. One year later, he was elected Chairman of the board by the 27 member crew. In the same year, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago named Andy his Chief of Staff. Manar’s experience in the state government was bashed by McElroy in the senate race, as he linked Manar to ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Manar and McElroy raised a total of more than $2.3 million since July 1, according to the state Board of Elections. In the last two weeks, the pair raised over $406,000 and spent another $200,000 for advertising and mailings. Amounts include only contributions of $1,000 or more, so the actual figure could be much larger than that.
Manar’s biggest campaign contributer was the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund controlled by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago. It gave $99,990 to Manar as the campaign entered its final days. Other large contributions came from the American Federation of State, the County and Municipal Employees who donated $25,000 and the Laborer’s unions who gave $19,000 since October 22.
Andy took the lead in the polls early, but McElroy remained within 4 percentage points as the results from the precincts came rolling in. With over half of the precincts reporting early last night, Manar controlled 51.3% of the votes, while McElroy took 48.7%. As the results continued to be accessible, Manar was in control 51.4% to McElroy’s 48.6% when nearly three-fourths of the precincts reporting.
When many people hit the sack last night, Manar was ahead 53.5% to 46.5% with 94% precincts reporting. As the Manar crew celebrated at D.H. Brown’s in Springfield last night with their newly elected Senator, Associated Press updated the results with 100% precincts reporting early this morning. The final count was Manar (D): 47,231 to McElroy’s (R): 38,183. Manar edged out the victory by nearly a thirteen point margin: 56.3% to McElroy’s 43.7%.
The newly elected senator was endorsed by countless individuals and organizations including the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois AFL-CIO, and the State Journal Register who said Manar’s experience and knowledge of the state budget and legislature makes him “an exceptional candidate and the best qualified one in this race.”
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