Sente, re-elected in House 59, looks ahead to budget reform
State Rep. Carol Sente, re-elected to House District 59 Tuesday after a bruising re-election campaign, said she's "overwhelmed and grateful" and pledged to make budget reform a priority once she returns to Springfield.
Sente, a Democrat from Vernon Hills, won re-election over Republican Leslie Munger, a former marketing executive at Helene Curtis. With all 56 precincts counted in Lake County and all seven precincts counted in Cook County, Sente unofficially has 12,321 votes, while Munger received 11,390.
Munger, of Lincolnshire, conceded to Sente Tuesday night after first declaring she would not give in and would wait for the vote by mail total.
Sente, who was appointed to the seat in 2009 and elected in 2010 and 2012, says she's an independent who voted against the 2011 income tax increase, supports its sunset in 2015 and opposes a so-called millionaire tax and progressive income tax proposal.
But because the state GOP targeted the 59th as a district they might be able to flip, the battle was a bitter one, right up to the end.
State party leaders, as well as special interests, poured thousands of dollars into both campaigns to pay for robocalls, negative mailers and TV ads.
"She won this election through negative campaigning," Munger said, referring to, among other things, robocalls placed by the Sente campaign. She challenged Sente to vote for a balanced budget and vote against House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Sente, meanwhile, chose to look ahead.
"I'm appreciative of the opportunity for two more years," she said. "We have a lot to fix in Illinois. I would like to continue to work on budget reform. That's one of my first priorities."
Another priority is economic development, she said.
"We need to make businesses feel we are business friendly again."
The 59th District takes in portions of Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Mundelein, Vernon Hills and Wheeling.