Casten unseats Roskam in 6th District race

Democratic entrepreneur and first-time candidate Sean Casten of Downers Grove unseated longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam in the 6th Congressional District.

Casten claimed victory after he received 53 percent of votes cast in parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties, according to unofficial results with 96 percent of 640 precincts reporting.

Casten two years ago was a clean energy businessman who had just sold his company. Now he's preparing to join the House of Representatives, where he says he will act as "an independent check" on President Donald Trump while advancing priorities of environmental protections, women's issues and health care.

"I've spent my career building businesses that will leave a safer, cleaner planet to our children. But when Donald Trump was elected, I knew I had to do more," Casten said in his final TV ad about his "positive vision" for the future. "In Congress, I'll make decisions based on facts, not partisan politics. I'll work with Republicans and Democrats to tackle our problems."

Casten, 46, of Downers Grove, emerged this spring as the Democrats' choice to challenge the 12-year incumbent Roskam, 57, of Wheaton, in an attempt to stop the Republican from gaining a seventh term in the district he has represented since 2007.

Casten beat six others - including five women - in a Democratic primary. Despite initial hopes one of the women could unseat Roskam amid a national wave of female political involvement, the party rallied around Casten's campaign.

The primary win made Casten the face of the Democratic Party's push to gain power in the 6th District, after voters there supported Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 by a 7-percentage point margin.

  Sean Casten celebrates at his election night party in Warrenville after the Downers Grove Democrat defeated longtime U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam in the 6th District. Brian Hill/

Roskam conceded defeat Tuesday after he focused much of his campaign on the benefits of 2017's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which he helped write and push to approval. Casten challenged Roskam's assertions about the value of the tax law and made the environment, health care and gun control his top campaign priorities.

Casten's 2-year term representing voters in the 6th District, which makes the shape of a C from Naperville to Tower Lakes, begins in January.

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