For seven terms, Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert of Hinsdale served as a popular, moderate congresswoman in the 13th Congressional District, with her hallmark issues including the plight of the homeless and the invasion of Asian carp.
That all ended abruptly with a 10 p.m. concession call on election night to her opponent, Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville, to whom she lost by a larger-than-expected 12 percentage point margin, a spread she still can't fully believe.
"I thought I would have a chance," said Biggert, who was running against Foster in the new 11th District.
"We ran neck and neck until the last week. How that changed so dramatically is something that people are looking at," she said.
Biggert, 75, reflected on her political past -- and future -- Friday in a taping of WBBM Newsradio 780's "At Issue," hosted by Political Editor Craig Dellimore and the Daily Herald, which will air in full Sunday morning.
Along with President Barack Obama's strong performance in Illinois and the suburbs boosting Democrats further down on the ticket, Biggert said she felt Foster's campaign was perhaps more effective than her own at "microtargeting" voters in the congressional district that is centered around Aurora and Joliet and includes parts of Naperville and Lisle.
"We thought we did a really good job of getting out the vote, but they really did well," Biggert said.
Biggert also reflected on her performance in several debates, one of which included a lengthy pause in which she attempted to ask Foster a question about campaign finance.
"I don't think I did a great job on the debate," she said of her performance. "It doesn't bother me when I'm just talking about things and talking to you. But when it's a campaign, I feel like it's so judgmental. And I'm a lawyer. I should be able to do it. ... But it was hard for me."
Biggert has spent recent weeks packing up. Her office in Washington, D.C. is now closed, and her district offices will be closed by the end of the year, she said.
Biggert said she is still thinking about what to do come January, when Foster's swearing-in marks the end of her tenure.
"I do need to get my law license back. I've been inactive because you cannot practice law while you're in Congress. I've already sent in for that again.
I can't get down to zero from 200 miles an hour. I know that I'm going to be a lot of different things. People said, 'Don't make up your mind right away.'"
To hear more of the interview, tune into WBBM Newsradio 780-AM at 9:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday, or 11 p.m. Sunday on 670 AM The Score.