Atanus holds lead in 9th Congressional GOP primary

Updated 3/19/2014 7:08 AM
  • Bob Chwedyk/ ¬ 9th Congressional District Candidate Susanne Atanus.

    Bob Chwedyk/ ¬ 9th Congressional District Candidate Susanne Atanus.

She was once asked by her own party to drop out of the primary for the 9th Congressional District, but Republican Susanne Atanus appeared to be headed to a win over David Earl Williams III Tuesday night.

Atanus, 55, of Niles, was leading Williams, 30, of Chicago, 15,238 votes to 13,864 with 535 out of 539 precincts reporting at 6:30 a.m.

Should she hang on to win, Atanus will face a formidable Democratic challenge in November, in longtime congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.

Atanus campaigned primarily on her economic plan, which includes eliminating the stock exchanges.

Atanus earned national attention earlier in the campaign for comments she made to the Daily Herald Editorial Board about severe weather being sent by God in retribution for same-sex marriage. Party leaders, including state GOP Chairman Jack Dorgan, asked Atanus to leave the race, but she refused.

Dorgan was not available for comment Tuesday night.

Atanus said she stands by those statements but is confident the Republican Party will come around and support her in the general election.

"I had to stay in the race because we had no other candidates with an economic plan for the future," Atanus said. "I don't want the Republican Party to be upset with me."

Atanus had stronger support in Chicago than in the suburbs, with nearly a 1,000-vote lead in Chicago voters.

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