Underwood continues to close in on Oberweis in 14th Congressional race

As vote counting continues in Illinois, Republican challenger Jim Oberweis' lead over incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood in the 14th Congressional District race keeps shrinking.

Meanwhile, both camps have acknowledged a discovery recount that would allow a losing candidate to examine a percentage of ballots is possible. That data can be used to legally contest the election.

After The Associated Press' totals updated Friday night, Oberweis was ahead 189,786 to 189,180, a difference of 606 votes, unofficial results showed.

That margin is 22 votes closer than it was Thursday night, 289 closer than on Wednesday and 2,443 closer than on Election Day.

As of Friday night, Oberweis, a state senator from Sugar Grove, had less than 50.1% of the vote. Underwood, a first-term congresswoman from Naperville, has more than 49.9%. The Associated Press has not called the contest.

With Election Day ballots counted in all 462 of the district's precincts, Friday's total reflected votes from additional mail-in ballots in Kane County, according to The Associated Press' data.

The updated tally still 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 a news conference Thursday afternoon, Underwood announced more than 7,200 mail-in ballots from 14th District voters await counting in Lake County and even more were awaiting tabulation in McHenry County, based on data from county officials. But on Friday, her campaign spokeswoman said the estimate given for McHenry County was incorrect. A new total wasn't available.

Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin disputed Underwood's estimates Friday.

"We have staff observers at every county clerk's office in the district and are getting updates in real time," Akin said. "Based on the reports we have received, we don't believe there are thousands of ballots to be counted in the 14th Congressional District."

Although Lake and McHenry are just two of the seven counties that intersect with the 14th District, Underwood said she was confident votes there will turn the tide her way and give her a second term.

Conversely, Akin insisted Oberweis will be victorious despite the narrowing margin. Oberweis even declared victory in a video released to social media Wednesday - but Team Underwood was quick to call that premature.

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

DuPage and Kane counties have updated totals since Election Day. Kendall and Will counties are waiting until Nov. 17. DeKalb is waiting until Nov. 18.

As of vote counts available Friday, Oberweis was leading in DeKalb, Kendall, Lake and McHenry, according to The Associated Press. Underwood led in DuPage, Kane and Will counties. That hasn't changed since Election Day.

When asked about a possible recount, Underwood said her team has lawyers standing by and giving advice as the final votes come in. But she said she's focused on making sure all the votes cast in the race are counted.

The Oberweis campaign is raising money for a discovery recount, Akin said.

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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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