State Rep. Marty Moylan may have only beat Republican opponent Mel Thillens by a slim margin in Tuesday's election, but he says he doesn't mind being in a competitive district.
"I worked the district very hard. We've hit houses twice sometimes," said Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat who was elected to his second term in the state House's 55th District. "It's being independent and voting the district. The people in the district are conservative on the money issues, but they're also socially compassionate."
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial returns show Moylan defeating Thillens 14,462 votes to 13,116 votes.
The district, considered by some to be politically "purple," was flooded with political attack mailers from both sides, funded by state party leaders and special interests.
The two candidates sparred during the campaign on everything from pension reform (Moylan voted for it, Thillens favored a 401(k)-style plan for future retirees), to the minimum wage (Moylan favors an increase, Thillens said the issue should be decided on the federal level).
Moylan said his top priorities in the next term are working on the state budget and trying to mitigate the impact of noise from O'Hare International Airport.
During the campaign, Moylan, the former mayor of Des Plaines, painted himself as a fiscal conservative who opposes extending the state income tax increase, and refused to accept $3,100 when legislators decided not to take furlough days this year.
Thillens, vice president of the Chicago armored truck company that bears his family name and Park Ridge park board president, said he decided to run because he was frustrated with Illinois' economic position that's led businesses and residents to move elsewhere.
The 55th District encompasses parts of Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village, Park Ridge, Rosemont, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows.