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updated: 11/2/2010 11:16 PM

Mathias heading back to Springfield

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Sid Mathias has been in the state house since 1999, but voters tonight made it clear they aren't tired of him yet.

Mathias, of Buffalo Grove, has a handy lead over former school board member Linda Birnbaum, with 73 of 89 precincts reporting in Cook and Lake counties. Unofficial totals have Mathias with 17,409 votes and Birnbaum with 9,516.

Mathias said he is "elated."

"I am grateful to my opponent, Linda Birnbaum, for doing a very positive campaign, not bringing in negative campaigning," he said. "We talked about issues, and I think the electorate in my district obviously wanted me to serve another term in Springfield, and I am very appreciative of their support of me."

Mathias was keeping an eye on the seesaw race for governor, as a Republican and supporter of Bill Brady.

"I'm a supporter of Bill Brady, not only as someone I served with in the General Assembly when he was in the House, but beyond that we need a change in Springfield and we need some diversity," Mathias said.

"One party rule is not good. I think that is the message the electorate has sent. We need both Republicans and Democrats rather than one party control. And I think that will lead to us working together."

Birnbaum, of Wheeling, said she ran to give voters an alternative to the representation they have had for 11 years.

"I am really proud of my little campaign," she said. "It was honest and it was without the backing of special interest groups or lobbyists or party money and it was fair and I was true to myself so I'm really very happy with that. I really feel it's important to people to know what you stand for. And it's important to me to win on my own merits, not on someone else's shortcomings."

Mathias ran on his record on jobs and taxes, in particular sponsoring legislation that caps property tax assessments at 7 percent. He is the chief sponsor of legislation that will make those caps permanent.