Oberweis' lead over Underwood narrows in 14th Congressional District race

Editor's note: In her news conference, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood incorrectly reported the number of mailed-in ballots waiting to be counted in McHenry County, citing data from county officials. An accurate number wasn't available, but a spokeswoman said it would be lower than the initial estimate.

Republican challenger Jim Oberweis' already slim lead over Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood in the 14th Congressional District race narrowed even further on Thursday, and the contest remains too close to call.

Oberweis, a state senator from Sugar Grove, now is in front of Underwood, a first-term lawmaker from Naperville, 189,189 to 188,473, unofficial results showed. That's a difference of only 716 votes, down from 895 on Wednesday.

The new margin reflects additional votes counted in DuPage and Kane counties, according to The Associated Press.

Oberweis has less than 50.1% of the vote. Underwood has more than 49.9%. The Associated Press has not called the race.

The updated tally doesn't include all the votes cast in the race. Ballots postmarked by this past Tuesday that arrive at election offices by Nov. 17 will be counted, too, as will provisional ballots.

In an online news conference Thursday afternoon, Underwood announced more than 7,200 such ballots from 14th District voters await counting in Lake County alone.

Estimates for 14th District ballots waiting to be counted in the other six counties - McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Will, DeKalb and Kendall - weren't available.

The Lake County clerk's office is expected to update its public tallies on Nov. 10 and again on Nov. 17. The McHenry County clerk is expected to release its final totals Nov. 18.

Underwood said she was "delighted" by the newly counted votes in DuPage and Kane counties, and she repeated her earlier confidence that she'll be victorious when all the votes are counted.

"We always knew this was going to be a competitive race," Underwood said. "We should all just be patient and let our county clerks do their work."

Despite the uncertainty, Oberweis declared victory in a video released Wednesday to social media.

Underwood scoffed at Oberweis' pronouncement Thursday.

"Mr. Oberweis does not get to call this election," she said. "The voters do."

On Thursday, Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin acknowledged that more ballots would be arriving by mail.

"But we do not expect the outcome to change," he said.

As of Thursday, Oberweis was leading in four of the district's seven counties - DeKalb, Kendall, Lake and McHenry - according to The Associated Press. Underwood led in DuPage, Kane and Will counties.

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U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood discusses the status of her 14th Congressional race against Jim Oberweis during a news conference Thursday held over Zoom. Zoom video
Congressional candidate Jim Oberweis released a statement Wednesday in which he declared victory in the 14th District despite the race not yet being called. Facebook Video Screenshot
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