CHICAGO — State Rep. Delia Ramirez emerged victorious in the Democratic race to represent the newly-drawn 3rd Congressional District, which was left without a representative when boundaries were re-drawn.
Multiple news outlets called the race for Ramirez over Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas and others. With almost all precincts reporting, Ramirez held 65.8 percent of the vote to Villegas’ 23.7 percent, according to unofficial returns.
The predominately Latino 3rd congressional district had no incumbent. Illinois Democrats created the district during last year’s redistricting process to reflect the Chicago area’s surging Latino population. It stretches from Chicago neighborhoods like Belmont Cragin, Humboldt Park and Logan Square to largely Hispanic suburbs west of the city, including Elgin and Bensenville.
Ramirez and Villegas were the two leading democratic candidates in the closely watched race. Iymen Chehade and Juan Aguirre also ran.
Ramirez will face off against Republican Justin Burau in the general election.
Ramirez, a former community organizer and social services director, was first elected to the Illinois House in 2018.
As state representative, Ramirez advocated for an elected school board in Chicago and pushed to expand Medicaid coverage to Illinois seniors regardless of immigration status, aligning herself with progressive leaders across the country.
In her bid for congress, Ramirez characterized herself as a grassroots candidate. The Belmont Cragin native’s endorsements include Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Villegas is a former union truck driver and U.S. Marine veteran who was elected 36th Ward alderperson in 2015 and has since become the head of the City Council’s Latino Caucus and served as Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader.
On the campaign trail, Villegas touted his role in launching a universal basic income pilot program in Chicago. The self-described “pragmatic progressive” received endorsements from the Tribune, ex-Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza.
Ramirez and Villegas were the front-runners, raising $616,212 and $949,926 in campaign cash, respectively, through June 8, according to the Sun-Times. The two ran against Iymen Chehade, a Columbia College Chicago and School of the Art Institute professor, and Juan Enrique Aguirre, a nurse and cannabis businessman.
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