Originally Posted Online: Nov. 05, 2012, 8:25 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 05, 2012, 11:21 pm

Schilling, Bustos make last-minute push

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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Photo: TODD WELVAERT/ THE DISPATCH/ROCK ISLAND ARGUS /JOE TAMBORELLO / THE JOURNAL-STANDARD
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, speaks to supporters at a rally in the parking lot of his campaign office at 367 Avenue of the Cities, East Moline, on the eve of the election, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Cheri Bustos, 17th U.S. Congressional District Democratic candidate, speaks with Tom Gaulrapp, a Sensata Technologies employee from Freeport, Ill., during a stop at the United Steelworkers Local Union No. 745 Hall in Freeport Monday.
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Photo: Todd Welvaert
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, speaks to supporters at a rally in the parking lot of his campaign office at 367 Avenue of the Cities, East Moline, on the eve of the election, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012.
Photo: JOE TAMBORELLO / THE JOURNAL-STANDARD
Cheri Bustos, 17th U.S. Congressional District Democratic candidate, speaks with Tom Gaulrapp, a Sensata Technologies employee from Freeport, Ill., during a stop at the United Steelworkers Local Union No. 745 Hall in Freeport Monday.

In a frenetic final day of campaigning, U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, and Democrat Cheri Bustos pushed for votes right to the last minute in one of the most closely watched congressional elections in the country.

Rep. Schilling rallied supporters at his campaign office, where he was joined by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, and David Keene, the president of the National Rifle Association.

"We've run a tough campaign right the way through," Rep. Schilling said before a crowd of supporters. "It's one of those things were you just don't give up, ever."

Meanwhile, Ms. Bustos, of East Moline, made a final trip to Freeport to meet with Sensata Technologies workers, whose jobs are being sent to China and whose plight has become the central plank of her campaign.

"I am running for Congress to give Illinoisans like these workers a voice in Washington, to end the incentives for outsourcing and to bring American jobs home," she said.

The Illinois 17th Congressional District election is one of the hottest races in the nation as Republicans work to hold on to a seat Democrats desperately want to win back after losing it in 2010.Former President Bill Clinton recorded a robocall released Monday that urged voters to support Ms. Bustos and underlined the district's importance to the Democratic Party.

The Schilling campaign, meanwhile, offered free pizza to volunteers working late into the night to get out the incumbent's vote across the 14 counties that make up the 17th District.

It wasn't just Ms. Bustos and Rep. Schilling who were hitting the campaign trail on Monday in a final hunt for votes.

Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, a Republican, traveled to Milan to boost candidates for state office and the Rock Island County Board.Republicans are seeking to wrest control of the board from Democrats for the first time since 1972.

"Two of the most important things we can do by the close of 7 p.m. tomorrow night will be help elect the next president of the United States and help elect a Republican county board," Mr. Rutherford said at Elliott Aviation.

Democrats remain confident that they will retain control of the county board.

"I think it's unlikely the Republicans will get the majority," said Rock Island County Board member Don Johnston, D-Moline. "In presidential elections you get a lot larger turnout which, frankly, benefits us."

Iowa's status as a battleground state also has helped make the Quad-Cities a hot spot for the presidential campaign.

On Sunday, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, came to Davenport to campaign for President Barack Obama. On Monday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Prebus dropped by a Republican phone bank, also in Davenport, to rally volunteers.