Bobby Rush

Rep. Bobby Rush Defeats 3 Challengers in 1st District Democratic Primary: AP

Rep. Bobby Rush won the Democratic primary for Illinois' 1st Congressional District on Tuesday, the Associated Press projects, beating three challengers to keep his long-held seat.

Rush won 81% of the vote with 15% of precincts reporting as of 8:30 p.m. CST.

He is the longest-serving member of the House in Illinois' Congressional delegation, representing the 1st District, which includes part of Chicago's South Side and the southwest suburbs, since 1993.

An Army veteran and ordained minister, Rush was involved in the civil rights movement and co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s before later leaving the organization.

This year, as more young people nationwide jumped into the political fray, Rush faced three challengers for the Democratic nomination: Robert Emmons Jr., Sarah Gad and Ameena Nuur Matthews.

Emmons, who was the youngest candidate in the race at age 27, has worked for nonprofits like OneGoal, an organization focused on educational opportunities, and the Obama Foundation.

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Gad is a law student, expected to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School this year, who turned her life around after landing in Cook County Jail as she battled an opioid addiction that stemmed from a near-fatal car accident.

Matthews is an anti-violence activist whose work was the subject of the award-winning documentary "The Interrupters" in 2011.

Rush was a Chicago alderman before his election to Congress and has been in public office through several personal battles: the fatal shooting of his son in 1999, his cancer diagnosis in 2008 and the death of his wife of 37 years in 2017. He has since been outspoken against gun violence, was declared cancer-free and remarried a fellow minister in 2018.

Rush has fended off more than a dozen Democratic primary challengers throughout his time in office, perhaps most notably defeating then-state Sen. Barack Obama in 2000 by a 2-to-1 margin. His last primary race was in 2016, when he handily defeated Chicago Ald. Howard Brookins Jr., one of his more well-known opponents in recent years, relatively speaking.

Rush earned the endorsement of the Chicago Sun-Times "for lack of a better choice," the paper's editorial board wrote - but the Chicago Tribune instead endorsed Emmons, calling him "eager to give constituents more energetic service."

Among the most safely blue districts in the country, Rush will surely cruise to victory over the sole Republican candidate, Philanise White, in the fall.

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