Jeanne Ives won the Republican primary for Illinois' 6th District Tuesday night, the Associated Press projects, and will face freshman Rep. Sean Casten in the fall.
Ives won 71% of the vote with 95% of precincts reporting, as of late Tuesday night, handily defeating Gordon "Jay" Kinzler, a surgeon and Army Reserve colonel from Glen Ellyn.
Ives is a familiar face in Illinois politics, a conservative firebrand and former state representative who mounted a nearly-successful primary challenge against then-incumbent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.
A West Point graduate and Army veteran, Ives represented her west suburban statehouse district, including parts of Wheaton, Winfield and Naperville, in the General Assembly from 2013 to 2019.
In the last election cycle, the 6th District was one of Democrats’ top targets in their efforts to regain control of the House. Casten turned the longtime Republican stronghold in the western suburbs blue in 2018 - and will now have to defend his seat from Ives come November.
Ives challenged Rauner from the right in 2018 and gained the support of conservative groups, donors and voters angered by his signing of legislation to allow Illinois to cover abortions for state employees and Medicaid recipients, as well as a measure to make Illinois a so-called “sanctuary state,” among other issues.
One of the most notable elements of her campaign was a controversial ad featuring actors thanking Rauner for bills he had signed, including an actor depicting a transgender individual, thanking Rauner for allowing bathroom access in Illinois. Though the state GOP denounced the ad and it was widely decried as offensive, Ives - with far less cash than Rauner - lost by just three points statewide. But Ives carried her home base of DuPage County - which makes up a large portion of the 6th District - by four points.
Ives will face Casten in November, two years after he beat incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam by 7 points, making Casten the first Democrat to represent the district since 1972.