Ellman unseats Connelly in state Senate District 21
It took more than two weeks to determine the outcome, but Naperville Democrat Laura Ellman has unseated Republican incumbent Michael Connelly in the 21st Illinois Senate District.
The DuPage County Election Commission and Will County Clerk's office on Tuesday released updated unofficial vote totals for the Nov. 6 election that include final vote-by-mail and provisional ballots.
The final vote total, which won't be official until Nov. 27, shows Ellman with 49,928 votes and Connelly with 48,749. That's a change from election night, when Connelly was ahead by a 12-vote margin.
Ellman said she knew it was going to be a tight race, but never imagined how close it would be.
"I'm more humbled than anything at the amount of work that the supporters did to get this done," Ellman said Tuesday evening.
She said she's honored to represent the 21st District, which covers all or parts of Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville, West Chicago, Winfield and Wheaton.
Ellman, an assessor at Argonne National Laboratory, said during the campaign that she wants to use her experience with data analysis and regulatory compliance to solve problems facing the district and the state.
She said she will be an independent voice committed to problem solving. "I am here to work for the district," she said.
Ellman grew up in Hanover Park and Bartlett and also lived in West Chicago before moving to Naperville, where she lives with her husband and their two children. She serves on the Naperville Housing Advisory Commission and has volunteered with the Naperville Big Band Jazz Fest, Habitat for Humanity and Feed My Starving Children, among other organizations.
While she is a precinct committeeman, this was the first time she sought state office.
Ellman joined a wave of first-time women candidates seeking state office buoyed by endorsements from high-profile DuPage Democrats, including Bill Foster, the incumbent in the 11th Congressional District.
Connelly, an attorney from Lisle, has held the state Senate seat since 2012. He previously served in the state House, on the DuPage County Board and on the Lisle village board.