Stella wins GOP primary for Foster's 11th congressional seat

 
 
Updated 3/21/2018 7:48 AM
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  • Nick Stella

    Nick Stella

A Darien cardiologist clinched the Republican nomination in a lopsided primary contest Tuesday in the 11th Congressional District.

Dr. Nick Stella will advance to a general election campaign to try to oust incumbent Democrat Bill Foster, who is now in his third term representing the district that extends into parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.

With 468 out of 468 precincts reporting, Stella captured 22,269 primary votes. His opponent, Constant G. "Connor" Vlakancic, trailed with 5,819 votes, according to unofficial tallies.

Stella, 49, narrowly lost a primary bid in 2016, when he sought the GOP nod to take on Foster. While Foster has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump's first year in office, Stella strikes a softer tone.

"I think many of his policies are outstanding, and I think they're very good for America," said Stella, citing Trump's signature on the tax overhaul as one example. "I think the problem that comes in with the president is people are too swayed by the rhetoric and too swayed by the man instead of actually looking at policy."

Stella supports a path to citizenship for young immigrants protected from deportation under an Obama-era program and contends that efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are doomed to fail. Stella would instead seek to undo the health care law and reform the system "piece by piece." One change he supports is allowing insurance companies to sell plans across state lines.

Vlakancic, an importer of Croatian beer, wine and spirits, has unsuccessfully run for offices in California and Illinois. The Aurora 74-year-old has focused much of his campaign against Stella on his proposal to eliminate primary elections.

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