Former State Sen. Steven Rauschenberger has fallen short in his bid to reclaim the 22nd Senate District from incumbent Michael Noland.
Rauschenberger, a Republican from Elgin, said he called Noland about 10 a.m. Wednesday to concede the drawn-out race, which likely signals the end of his political career.
"I have no plans to run again," Rauschenberger said. "I have had a wonderful political career with wonderful support from the community and generous donors. I have no future political plans."
Rauschenberger represented the 22nd District for 14 years until 2006 when he unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor. Noland won the seat in the 2006 election.
"I want to personally thank the hundreds of volunteers and contributors who helped me make this a competitive race in the face of extraordinary resources arrayed against us," Rauschenberger said in a prepared statement. " ... Sen. Michael Noland won this election; I congratulate him and wish him well as he returns to Springfield to deal with Illinois' staggering problems of job stagnation, pension underfunding, and the multibillion-dollar budget deficit."
Unofficial vote totals from Cook and Kane counties have Noland ahead with 18,607 to Rauschenberger's 18,052. Although potential votes in provisional or absentee ballots remain, Rauschenberger said he held little hope of overcoming the 555-vote gap.
"It can't be more than a handful," Rauschenberger said.
Noland is no stranger to drawn-out elections, having lost the race for the 43rd House District in 2004 to Elgin Republican Ruth Munson. After a recount, Noland lost by 387 votes.
"I can understand why he wanted to take the time to wait until all of the votes were counted," Noland said. "I certainly don't fault him in any way, shape or form ,,, It is democracy in action. This district is so evenly divided, with a large bloc of independents in the middle, that we expected it to be close."
Although both candidates spent hundreds of thousands on fliers and television ads, Noland said it was old-fashioned campaigning that made the difference.
"It was shoe leather over the dollars," Noland said. "There was a lot of money invested, but I don't think it was money that won it. I think it was the actual contact with voters. It has always been that way and will always be that way."