State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, right, greets supporters in Yorkville as ballots are counted Tuesday night.
State Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, right, greets supporters in Yorkville as ballots are counted Tuesday night.

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Republican Rep. Keith Wheeler has won reelection with about 55.7% of the vote in the race for the 50th Illinois House District.

With 65 of 66 of precincts reporting across Kane and Kendall counties as of 9:45 p.m., Wheeler, a three-term incumbent, is leading Democratic challenger Kate Monteleone, who has garnered about 42.9 percent of the vote.

“I love seeing the numbers so high across the board,” Wheeler said in a phone interview from his watch party at Yorkville eatery Mike & Denise’s Pizzeria & Pub. “We feel good that we’re being rewarded for our hard work and doing a good job for our constituents.”

A seat held by Wheeler since 2015, the 50th District extends from Campton Hills to the north down through parts of Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Montgomery, Oswego and Yorkville.

With Kendall County trending blue in recent years, Democrats had hoped Monteleone could run a competitive race and potentially flip the seat.

In 2018, Wheeler defeated Democratic challenger James Leslie with a similar margin of 55%.

Named a “Champion of Free Enterprise” by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Wheeler, an Oswego resident, is a businessman and founder of an IT consultant firm. While in the General Assembly, he has sponsored and helped pass legislation that removes the statute of limitations for criminal sexual assault.

Monteleone, his challenger, works as a nonprofit consultant and is executive director of the Neighborhood Food Pantries, a food pantry network based in DuPage County.

Going into the close of campaign Tuesday night, Wheeler vastly out-raised Monteleone.

Since the beginning of his current term, Wheeler raised $382,456, funded heavily by the Illinois Republican Party, Realtors, the construction industry and the Rauners, according to Illinois’ Sunshine campaign finance database.

Between July and September, Monteleone raised $6,469, mainly from trade unions and relatives, according to state campaign finance records. Her campaign has not yet filed its disclosures for October.

“You work hard to raise money in this business, and it takes money to run these campaigns,” Wheeler said Tuesday night. “I wanted to make sure our message was heard and people knew that we were active and were trying to work across the aisle to get things done.”

During the campaign, Wheeler and Monteleone both supported bringing Metra service to Kendall County.

Yet the two candidates differed on issues such as Gov. JB Pritzker’s fair tax, criminal justice reform and introducing a Medicaid public option to Illinois.

As for next year at the General Assembly in Springfield, Wheeler said he wanted to focus on pandemic-induced budget windfalls along with calls for ethics reforms sparked by the ongoing scandal enveloping Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“And as always, I’ll be focusing on creating more Illinois jobs for Illinois families,” Wheeler said.

Kendall County