Mark Batinick holds off Democratic challenger in close state House race
Even in victory Tuesday, re-elected state Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) said it felt like his work had only just begun.
“The first order of business will be fixing all the deception that crept into this race and letting voters know the Madigan Machine was squarely behind it,” he said. “He spent another million dollars in the last seven days of the campaign to tell lies about me and my record and voters have to be made aware of that.”
Batinick still had the support to fend off Democratic challenger Mica Freeman in the state House 97th District race. He collected 51 percent of the vote, or 22,048 votes, to Freeman's 49 percent, or 21,356 votes.
Batinick said his job of rebuilding his reputation after a Democrat-led smear campaign starts immediately. And, based on the closeness of his race, he said there’s plenty of work to do.
“A lot of them seemed to have [fallen] for Speaker [Michael] Madigan’s con job,” he said. “The best and only way to fix that is one voter at a time and by continuing to fight for and espouse the sound, strong conservative values I always have.”
While insisting he understands politics is politics, Batinick said he felt some of the attacks on him seemed personal and may have crossed the line.
“I’ll move beyond it. In the end I work for the people of my district and the state of Illinois and that’s what’s most important,” he said.
With Democrat J.B. Pritzker having garnered 54 percent of the vote to knock off Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Batinick said he’s worried about what a leadership duo of Pritzker and Madigan means for the future of Illinois and its financial problems.
“I’m concerned more taxes could be coming and more out-of-control spending could be there right along with it,” he said.
The 97th District includes all or parts of Oswego, Plainfield, Troy and Wheatland.