Early and absentee voting in Lake County may have helped give Democrat Brad Schneider an upset win over Republican Robert Dold in the 10th Congressional District.
With ballots in 419 of 419 precincts counted, Schneider had 130,676 votes, roughly 50.5 percent of the total, unofficial results showed. Dold trailed with 128,129 votes.
Early and absentee votes in Cook hadn't been reported as of late Tuesday.
Dold, a freshman lawmaker from Kenilworth, led all Tuesday night -- until the early and absentee ballots in Lake County were counted. Those late votes put Schneider, a first-time candidate and consultant from Deerfield, on top.
With supporters gathered at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire, Dold conceded late Tuesday.
At the Schneider election night party at the Hilton Northbrook, the congressman-elect thanked Dold for his dedication to the country and the spirited campaign.
"We did it! And, to be more fair, you did it," Schneider told the crowd. "Together we just made history."
A Democrat hasn't represented the 10th District in decades. The last was Abner Mikva, who had the post from 1975 to 1979.
Mikva was succeeded by Republican John Porter, who handed the reins to Republican Mark Kirk, who made way for Dold in 2010.
Redrawn for this election, the 10th District was regarded as the most left-leaning district in the nation held by a Republican.
In a battle that cost millions of dollars to fight, Schneider and the Democrats attacked Dold as a Tea Party sympathizer who was in lock-step with the Republican agenda.
But just as he did two years ago, Dold campaigned as a social moderate by proclaiming support for the environment, gun control and a woman's right to choose.
Dold criticized Schneider in person and in TV ads for not releasing his tax returns. Dold also went after Schneider's evolving comments about whether Bush-era tax cuts should expire.
Dold questioned Schneider's business background, too, repeatedly asking why Schneider's consulting firm had little income in recent years.
The Dold-Schneider race wasn't the national affair that voters choosing between Republican Joe Walsh and Democrat Tammy Duckworth in the neighboring 8th District experienced.
Still, donors of all stripes -- and from all across the country -- flooded the race with cash.
Political action committees, labor unions and other special-interest groups sent the campaigns checks. So did a former astronaut, one of the Chicago Cubs' owners and a member of the Kennedy family.
Daily Herald staff writer Scott Morgan contributed to this report.