Republican Bobby Schilling overwhelmed incumbent U.S. Rep Phil Hare on Thursday, taking the western Illinois seat in Congress for the GOP for the first time since 1980.
At about 9:40 p.m., incumbent Rep. Hare, D-Rock Island, conceded he had lost the race for a new term. With 692 of 745 precincts counted, Mr. Schilling had 53 percent of the votes — or 92,514.
Rep. Hare, the incumbent, had 42 percent, or 73,355, of the votes counted. Roger Davis, the Green Party candidate, pulled in 5 percent — or 7,923 votes.
Mr. Schilling, a pizza parlor owner from Colona, told his supporters at his victory party at KJWW in Rock Island that his win was not about Republicans or Democrats or even Independents.
"It is about citizens of this country rising up to take their country back," he said. "We came out with a very simple message," he said. The message included simplifying government and not raising taxes, he added.
"Don't be disheartened by this," Rep. Hare told his supporters gathered at the Holiday Inn in Rock Island Tuesday night. "You are the future of this party."
Before that moment, the crowd was subdued at what could have been Rep. Hare's victory celebration. There was conversation, but no laughter. There were tears here and there — and in isolated spots in the crowd — people were embracing.
By the time Rep. Hare reached the front of the room, the crowd's nature had changed, becoming boisterous and loudly expressing its loyalty.
"We don't care what they say, we love you!" one shout rang out.
"I knew this was going to be close," Rep. Hare said.
Rep. Hare was first elected to Congress in 2006, when he handily defeated Republican Andrea Zinga. The Republicans did not field an opponent in 2008.
Mr. Schilling will be the first Republican since Democrat Lane Evans won the seat in the 1982 election. Tom Railsback, with a victory in 1980, was the last Republican to represent the Q-C area.
Mr. Schilling said the bull's-eye that now sits on the face of small businesses will come off in January, cap and trade is dead, and it will be a great day when Nancy Pelosi is no longer the speaker of the House.
He said the greatest generation rose to the occasion, beat the odds and created a better life for their children.
"We are being called upon for our future generations and it is time to rise up," he said.
Mr. Schilling has pledged only to serve four terms, or eight years, in Congress, not to take any pay increases while in office and to take his own family health insurance to Washington.
"And when I am done serving, I am going back to flipping pizza," he said.
He thanked Rep. Hare for the great work he did over the years for veterans, a sentiment that garnered applause from the hundreds in attendance at KJWW.
"I'll follow up on that work and improve on it as much as I can," Mr. Schilling said. "I will reach out to Republicans, Democrats and Independents across this district. We have to work for people and get them back to work.
"I will work my fingers to the bone for the people in the 17th District," he added.
The Republican Party needed to pick up 39 seats Tuesday to take over the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. All reports indicate the party was successful in doing so.
Mr. Schilling will begin serving his first term on Jan. 3. Rep. Hare will return to Washington, D.C. for a short time to participate in the "lame duck" session of Congress, which convenes later this month
Rep. Hare said he hopes to finish out the term by completing some of the projects he was taking part in before Congress last adjourned.
After that, he said he would like to take some time off and catch up with family, including his infant granddaughter. Rep. Hare said he did not intend to seek office again, but would remain politically active.
Today is Saturday, May 25, the 145th day of 2013. There are 220 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: The annual review of the fire department of this city took placeyesterday and made a fine showing with machines and hose carts in tip-top order. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Last night's prayer meeting at Central Presbyterian Church wascalled off due to water in the basement, residue of last week's flood. 1913 -- 100 years ago: The junior class of Rock Island High School will hold a riverexcursion on the steamer St. Paul next Tuesday. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The 75th Anniversary of the Rock Island Arsenal today finds thenation's largest ordinance manufacturing plant filling many important orders for the army. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Miss Patrice Daly, Rock Island, a senior at Rock Island HighSchool, won second place in the recent state public speaking contest held in Peoria underthe auspices of the Knights of Pythias. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Hampton's sesquicentennial committee and the Hampton HistoricalSociety have scheduled a full slate of activities, which will be held throughout the year, to celebrate the village's 150th birthday. The first celebration will be the Memorial Dayprogram at 10 a.m. May 30, at the Brettun and Black Store Museum on River Road. Therewill be a sesquicentennial display.