Illinois Midterm Elections

‘It's So Hard Not to Have Her Here': Rep. Casten Tears Up in Victory Speech

Rep. Casten paid tribute to his late daughter in a victory speech to supporters Tuesday

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

After declaring victory in a hotly-contested battle for Illinois' 6th District, Rep. Sean Casten teared up in a speech to supporters, remembering his late daughter who suddenly died earlier this year.

Gwen Casten experienced a sudden cardiac arrhythmia on the morning of June 13. She was 17 years old.

"This has been a really, really hard five months," Casten said to supporters on Tuesday.

"Last time I did an election in a room this big, Gwen was up here with us. I have a picture on my desk of us all sitting in that moment, and it's just such joy on her face. It's so hard to not have her here," Casten said.

Casten won a third term to his seat after defeating Orland Park mayor Keith Pekau in a race that was targeted by Republicans as a pickup opportunity in this year's midterm elections.

Before the general election, Casten won a primary against fellow Rep. Marie Newman in Illinois' newly-drawn 6th congressional district.

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