Illinois State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) won her party's primary election this week. She'll face John Curtis of Macomb in the general election. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Hammond received 54% of the vote in the primary to defeat challenger Joshua Griffith of Abingdon, who finished with 46%. Hammond won by about 740 votes across the 93rd district, which includes all or portions of eight counties.
As Tri States Public Radio previously reported, more than a million dollars in campaign contributions were invested in the primary race.
Hammond received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Republican Party while Griffith received support from the Super PAC Liberty Principles, which is backed by Dan Proft out of Chicago.
Hammond acknowledged a lot of money was spent on the primary. “This was a perfect example of a lot of Chicago money coming into Western Illinois. Fortunately, Western Illinois resoundingly rejected those folks from the Chicago area,” Hammond said.
Hammond told Tri States Public Radio she is thankful to have the support of the Republican Party.
Curtis said he watched the Republican primary with interest. He said people told him they didn’t like the deceptive advertisements the Republican candidates ran in the primary. Curtis called the ads "Chicago style politics" and said he doesn't want to see them leading up to the general election. But he believes high levels of campaign contributions and spending will continue between now and the November election.
Curtis said Hammond has access to "a huge war chest," but he said he thinks he will be able to raise enough money to run a competitive campaign.
“I certainly hope we haven’t moved into a time when somebody needs to be that wealthy to run for a statewide office,” Curtis said.
The Hammond-Curtis contest will be a rematch of the 2016 election, which Hammond won. Hammond raised about three-dollars for every dollar Curtis raised that year.
Curtis said he plans to take the same approach to campaigning this year as he did in 2016, when he focused on door-to-door campaigning and shaking hands at local events.
Curtis said he’s been around the block once and now knows how to run a successful campaign. “I also think people are just ready for a new face, new ideas, and new people in Springfield. I think people felt that way in 2016, but I think people feel even more strongly that way in 2018,” Curtis said.
Hammond said she plans to spend time meeting with residents and campaigning across the 93rd district in the coming months, though she noted her first priority is the legislative session.
“We have a pretty jammed pack schedule both in April and May," Hammond said.
Hammond told Tri States Public Radio she hopes to build on the success she had in the Republican primary. She said the win helped cultivate her support base. “It gives you the stamina to keep going. It’s not easy when you’re walking precincts every day and miles and miles a day,” Hammond said.
Hammond and Curtis both participated alongside Joshua Griffith in a McDonough County League of Women Voter’s candidates forum prior to the primary election. Curtis said he hopes to share the stage with Hammond again ahead of the general election.