State Sen. Kirk Dillard says he's a known commodity and that familiarity helped him to an easy victory in Tuesday's Republican primary for the newly created 24th Senate District.
The veteran Hinsdale legislator trounced challenger Chris Nybo of Elmhurst in both Cook County, where he took 75 percent of the vote, and DuPage County, where he took 61 percent.
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From start of the campaign, Dillard, 56, had to fend off Nybo's claims that the longtime senator is a career politician. Nybo, 34, of Elmhurst, who is pushing for term limits, said it's "wrong" that Dillard has been in office since 1993.
Dillard countered by saying his unique background in state government gives him the qualifications to be a "suburban voice" in the General Assembly.
"I take my very nice victory tonight as a referendum on my style," Dillard said. "The people of Illinois and suburban Chicago want someone who is a leader that actually gets results, keeps commitments made and works across party lines and geographic lines but without ever giving up their party principles or sacrificing the state's finances. That's what I've given them for 20 years."
As for the campaign, Dillard said he tried to not spend a large amount of money in an attempt to not divide the Republican party like he accused Nybo of doing.
"I could have really run up the score on this young man (Nybo) but I didn't want to pay to go on cable and further divide my party like Mr. Nybo attempted to do."
Dillard will now face Democrat A. Ghani of Oak Brook in the general election to decide who will represent the 24th District, which includes all or parts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont, Wheaton and Willowbrook.
He is not expecting to change his "campaign or governmental style" moving forward.
"I'm a constant known commodity. I have not changed my political or governmental style in 20 years," he said. "Nothing will change. I will continue to work hard every day. What they see is what they get and what they'll see in the fall."
Throughout the campaign, Dillard and Nybo clashed on several issues, particularly gambling expansion in Illinois.
Nybo said opening new casinos or adding slot machines at horse racing tracks isn't going to solve Illinois' budgetary problems. He said state lawmakers instead must make "tough decisions" to put the state on sound financial footing.
Dillard said he agrees gambling shouldn't be expanded in Illinois. But Dillard says there are some ideas he could support, including a new casino in Chicago.
When it comes to the horse racing industry, Dillard said he supports measures to assist horse racing's agricultural side, which produces between 15,000 to 30,000 jobs. Nybo said he opposes having slot machines at Arlington Park or other tracks.