Nabeela Syed gets Democratic nomination in 51st House primary

  • Nabeela Syed

    Nabeela Syed

Updated 6/28/2022 10:25 PM

Hailing her victory as "historic," Nabeela Syed defeated Chelsea Laliberte Barnes in the Democratic primary for the 51st House District Tuesday.

With 74.2% of the votes counted in unofficial tallies, Syed had 6,463 votes, or 72.2%, while Barnes had 2,489, or 27.8%.


As a 23-year-old "woman of color," Syed noted the significance of her nomination in a district that takes in parts of suburban Cook and Lake counties. She said the strong win emphasizes the grass-roots nature of the campaign.

"We had so many incredible folks who have donated, who volunteered their time, who have dedicated their energy, their heart to this historic victory," she said.

Syed, of Inverness, will take on Republican incumbent Chris Bos in November. She vowed to continue working hard "to present a candidate that is more in line with what this district wants."

Barnes said she called Syed to concede.

"I'm really proud of her, and I'm impressed with the type of campaign that she ran," Barnes said, adding she was also proud of her campaign team.

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Syed has worked as an organizer with such groups as EMILY's List to raise money to elect Democrats to Congress. She served as the campaign manager for Township High School District 211 board member Tim McGowan and has worked as a high school debate coach.

Barnes, of Palatine, an advocate on issues of mental health and substance abuse, co-founded Live4Lali and the Lake County Opioid Initiative. She and her parents started Live4Lali after Barnes' brother, Alex Laliberte, died from an accidental drug overdose in 2008.

The candidates agreed on a number of issues, including climate change and abortion rights.

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