Edly-Allen defeats Miller Walsh in 51st House District

Provisional and late-arriving mail ballots have propelled Democrat Mary Edly-Allen over Republican state Rep. Helene Miller Walsh in the tightly contested race for the state House's 51st District seat.

Unofficial results from Lake and Cook counties after the Nov. 6 election had Miller Walsh ahead of Edly-Allen by one vote, 25,106 to 25,105. Miller Walsh had a strong lead until Lake County counted early and mail ballots, which favored Edly-Allen.

But the final tally of the provisional and late-arriving mail ballots released Tuesday by Lake County pushed Edly-Allen over Miller Walsh, 25,949 to 25,576. Cook County already had counted the late mail and provisional ballots because only a piece of one precinct is in District 51, which covers all or portions of the Barrington area, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Libertyville and Mundelein.

It was the first general election for both candidates, who disagreed on many issues.

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to extend a sincere thank you to the thousands of voters who have chosen to place their trust in me, as well as the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who helped me get my message out to the community and stood by my side as we fought to ensure every vote was counted," Edly-Allen said. "Across the county, state and country, this election demonstrated not only that every vote counts, but most importantly, that the divisive rhetoric advanced by extreme politicians like Donald Trump will not go unchallenged."

Miller Walsh, a Mundelein-area resident, was appointed in August to replace Republican state Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington, who resigned amid accusations he posted naked photographs of an ex-girlfriend over social media without her knowledge. She'll exit the General Assembly when Sauer's term expires in January.

"We came up short," Miller Walsh said. "I want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who worked tirelessly for what was a wild two-month campaign. I'm proud that we spent those two months talking about the only issue that matters in Illinois: the bankrupting of this state. Congratulations to Mary Edly-Allen."

At an Oct. 6 candidate forum in Barrington, Edly-Allen, a teacher from Libertyville, said she lacked money and was unable to compete with Miller Walsh's mailers and television commercials. Money flowed to Edly-Allen after the forum.

Her campaign fund had about $1.2 million cash on hand as of Tuesday, compared to $383,414 for Miller Walsh, according to the nonprofit Illinois Sunshine database.

When in Springfield, Edly-Allen said, she plans to work on "reforming our broken property tax system, defending heath care protections for people with pre-existing conditions, demanding safe classrooms for our children and standing up for women's health."

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