PEORIA — Both incumbent members of Congress in central Illinois have coasted to new terms in office.
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, faced a rematch with Eureka College history professor Junius Rodriguez, a Democrat, in the 18th Congressional District seat that covers about half of Peoria, all of Woodford County and much of Tazewell County.
LaHood led by a margin of 175,123 to 84,052 in preliminary Associated Press counts as of 10:30 p.m., or about 67 percent to 33 percent.
Earlier this decade, that seat was the one the one that generated the most Republican votes in the state for its incumbent.
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, aiming to be part of a new Democratic congressional majority, was comfortably ahead of challenger Bill Fawell by a margin of 139,139 to 85,959 in counts by the Associated Press as of 10:30 p.m. That's about 62 percent to 38 percent.
Bustos, of Moline, has already indicated she'll be seeking a higher-ranking leadership position in the next Congress.
Fawell, a Galena real estate agent, saw his support fade during the summer when his stated belief that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were part of a government conspiracy, became widely known. Illinois Republicans disavowed his campaign.