Republican Congressman Peter Roskam looked ahead to future political battles after cruising to victory over challenger Democrat Leslie Coolidge in the 6th District Tuesday.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Roskam had 191,065 votes, or 59 percent, to Coolidge's 131,410 according to unofficial results.
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"I am an optimist," Roskam, 51, told a pumped-up crowd at the Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton. "It's going to be a long night ... but we know what happened in the 6th District."
Coolidge, a retired KPMG accountant who lives in Barrington Hills, faced a seasoned campaigner in Roskam, a Wheaton attorney and former state senator, who is a high-ranking GOP leader in the House.
"I knew it was going to be an uphill battle," Coolidge said. "But it was a very positive experience and I'm very thankful for all the people who voted for me."
For Roskam, "the big priority will be to turn the economy around as fast as we can; clearly the federal government needs to live within its means," he said.
"If President Obama is re-elected, we'll set about very quickly dealing with the fiscal cliff."
Unlike some of Roskam's previous campaigns, such as his 2006 bout with Democrat Tammy Duckworth, the 2012 election was relatively low-key. There were no debates and a lack of buzz compared to the higher-profile contests between Duckworth and GOP Congressman Joe Walsh in the 8th District or Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert against former Congressman Bill Foster, a Democrat, in the 11th District.
Coolidge, 53, acknowledged she didn't get the national party backing her fellow Democrats did but said, "it's been a very positive experience. We've had tons of people out knocking on doors, making phone calls -- I've met people who are very committed."
The state remap turned the 6th Congressional District into a sprawling jigsaw piece that takes in parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties.
Early in the campaign, Roskam said he was taking nothing for granted. "I'm introducing myself to the communities in the new 6th District and am listening to their concerns," he said.