And then there were four: A look at the races for the 6th and 11th district congressional seats

The Republicans taking on Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville in Illinois’ 11th District and Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove in the 6th District are no strangers to the election process — but neither has advanced beyond a primary contest before.

Foster’s Republican opponent in the Nov. 5 general election is Jerry Evans, a music school owner from Warrenville who won a three-way primary Tuesday. Evans ran in 2022, too, placing second in a six-person GOP primary.

Foster, who defeated Naperville resident Qasim Rashid in the Democratic primary, said he expects the upcoming campaign to focus on reproductive freedom, gun control, health care and climate change.

“Those will be the issues nationally, and those will be the issues in the 11th,” Foster said.

Foster also said he’ll tout the work he’s done for constituents, including efforts by his staff to recover millions of dollars owed by the federal government through the years.

In a statement issued after his primary win, Evans said the district residents he’s met are frustrated by inflation, illegal immigration and crime.

“It is time to come together, forge a new path and make this district one of the best places to raise a family, start a business and for everyone to experience their dreams,” Evans said.

The 11th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Boone counties.

In the 6th District, Casten will face Republican Niki Conforti, an energy consultant from Glen Ellyn. Casten cruised to victory in a three-way primary last week, while Conforti ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, left, will battle Republican Niki Conforti for the 6th District seat this fall.

Conforti unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination in the 6th District in 2022, placing third out of six candidates.

Casten recalled meeting Conforti at town hall events in 2022, and he criticized her campaign skills as lacking “depth and sophistication.” Noting that Conforti has pledged to reduce funding for the FBI and has taken up the conservative parental rights cause regarding schools, Casten said he “will greatly look forward to debating her.”

“I like my odds,” Casten said, adding that climate change, women’s rights and civil rights will continue to be among his priorities.

Conforti agreed that her views and Casten’s are very different.

“The voters will have a clear choice between keeping the status quo with the influx of illegals, high crime and rising costs — or change,” Conforti said in an email.

The 6th District includes parts of Cook and DuPage counties.

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