Republican candidate Smith falls short in state senate race
Despite garnering 47 percent of votes, Michelle Smith, Republican candidate for Senate District 49, lost to Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) in the Nov. 8 elections.
Bertino-Tarrant captured 50,996 votes — about 53 percent — and a little over 5,000 more than Smith’s 45,904. The district lies within Kendall and Will County.
“I am disappointed in the results of the election, but the voters have chosen who they wish to represent them,” Smith told Will County Gazette. “I pray that Sen. Bertino-Tarrant follows through with what she had promised during our race and doesn't disappoint those who voted for her.”
A resident of Plainfield, Smith campaigned on her experience as the Plainfield School District 202 board president, which endorsers said would make her qualified to tackle the state’s budget problems. She constructed a balanced budget for the school district despite not receiving full funding from the state.
Additionally, Smith said during that campaign that she isn’t afraid of making difficult decisions. While on the school board, she slashed the budget by more than $45 million in five years. These drastic cuts helped to eliminate an $18 million deficit. She also worked to prevent increases in property taxes.
Smith established her positions on six primary issues, including education, jobs and the economy, pensions, term limits, property taxes and income taxes. As a small business owner, Smith spoke to the regulations, taxes and economic downturn that drive businesses and workers out of the state.
Bertino-Tarrant raised more than $1.5 million for her campaign, much of which was contributed by unions, lobbyists and fellow politicians. Throughout the campaign, Smith pointed to her opponent’s support of unbalanced state budgets put forward by Democratic state leaders, among other moves that benefit political insiders at the expense of taxpayers.
Smith said she will continue to work on behalf of the district, even though it didn’t send her to Springfield.
“We need reform in our state; we need to find ways to lower our taxes, fully fund education, support those who need it the most and bring jobs back to Illinois,” she said. “We need to change the way Springfield functions, and we need legislators who are willing to fight for it. I hope that those who were elected on Nov. 8 will take on that challenge and fight for their fellow Illinoisans. I am grateful for all of those who believed in me and supported me through this entire process. It is truly an experience that I will never forget.”