Underwood again expands lead over Oberweis, thanks to voters in DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties
With thousands more tabulated votes released Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood of Naperville expanded her lead over Republican challenger Jim Oberweis in the race for the 14th District seat.
Underwood is ahead 198,200 to 194,676, a 3,524-vote advantage, unofficial results show. Underwood has 50.45% of the vote so far and Oberweis has 49.55%.
The race remains too close to call. The Associated Press hasn't projected a victor.
But Team Underwood is optimistic.
"We're confident that Rep. Underwood will be reelected," spokeswoman Andra Belknap said Tuesday.
Tuesday's updated figures included 4,615 additional votes from mail-in ballots in Lake County, 4,135 additional votes in McHenry County, 50 additional votes in DuPage County and 21 additional votes in Kane County, four of the seven counties that overlap with the 14th District.
Oberweis, a state senator and dairy owner from Sugar Grove, had the lead on Election Day, a week ago. But as the counting of vote-by-mail ballots proceeded, the scales shifted to favor Underwood, who took the lead Saturday night and has stayed in front.
Oberweis declared victory in a video posted last week on social media. Underwood and her team quickly called the proclamation premature, and so far it seems they were right.
But late Tuesday, Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin said the election "is far from over."
"We have said all along the vote totals would change, but we believe the Election Day outcome will remain the same," Akin said.
The updated tally likely doesn't include all the votes cast in the race. Ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrive at election offices by Nov. 17 will be counted, as will provisional ballots.
The 14th District includes parts of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will, DeKalb and Kendall counties. More than 107,000 of the nearly 703,000 ballots that had been requested by mail had yet to be turned in as of Tuesday in those counties, according to state election officials. Not all were requested by 14th District voters, however.
With Wednesday's being a holiday, Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor said her office will next update vote totals Thursday afternoon. An estimated 9,000 vote-by-mail ballots will be processed by then, she estimated.
Lake County will release final counts, including late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots and provisional ballots, on Nov. 17. Additional updates before then are possible, she said.
DuPage and Kane county officials have regularly updated totals since Election Day.
Kendall and Will counties are waiting until Nov. 17 to release votes from all mailed-in and provisional ballots, while DeKalb is waiting until Nov. 18 to do the same.
McHenry County officials expect to release their final totals Nov. 18, too.
Until Tuesday, Underwood was behind in Lake County, but now she leads there as well as in DuPage, Kane and Will counties. Oberweis is leading in DeKalb, Kendall and McHenry counties.
Both Underwood and Oberweis have acknowledged a discovery recount is possible. That maneuver allows a losing candidate to examine a percentage of ballots in a race but doesn't change the result of the election. However, the data can be used to legally contest the election.
Underwood is a first-term lawmaker who won her seat in 2018 as part of the blue wave that swept the Democrats into a House majority. Although the fate of the 14th District is still unclear, the Democrats have held every other suburban congressional seat.