King, Sorensen embark on campaign swing through 17th District

Both candidates will be within a mile of each other in Rock Falls on Saturday morning

Election 2024
Republican Esther Joy King and Democrat Eric Sorensen are competing for the 17th Congressional District.

Eric Sorensen and Esther Joy King will hit the road this weekend as they make their final appeal for votes in the tightening race for the 17th Congressional District seat.

The general election is Tuesday.

Both candidates have stops planned within a mile of each other Saturday morning in Rock Falls.

King, the Republican, will be at A’s Kitchen at 8:30 a.m.

Sorensen, the Democrat, will be at the Whiteside County Democratic Headquarters at 10:30 a.m.

The two are seeking the vacant seat left by Cheri Bustos, who chose not to run after serving five terms.

Neither has been elected to public office before, although King ran against Bustos in 2020. Sorensen was the chief meteorologist for a Rockford TV station. King has been an officer for the judge advocate general in the U.S. Army Reserve since 2018. Both have identified the upcoming Farm Bill and addressing inflation as key issues.

On a map, the district is configured like a giant C, starting in Rockford, sweeping across northern Illinois to the Quad Cities, and arching down into west-central Illinois through Galesburg and Peoria before curving up into Bloomington. It includes 14 counties.

Sorensen also has campaign events in Rock Island County, Rockford and Freeport on Saturday. He will be in Peoria, Bloomington-Normal and Galesburg on Sunday.

King spent Friday in McDonough, Warren, Mercer and Rock Island counties. On Saturday, she’ll also visit the Mill Wheel Tavern in Milledgeville at 11 a.m. before going to stops in Freeport and Rockford. On Sunday, she plans appearances in Knoxville, Canton, Pekin and Kewanee, while Monday she will be in Peoria and Bloomington.

The independent political forecasters all show the race as a toss-up, although one notably gives the slight edge to the Democrat and another said it is trending Republican.

On Friday, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, a nonpartisan analysis, said the needle had again moved – it’s now a straight toss-up but moving toward the Republican. Its previous report Oct. 21 had the race tilting Democrat. Back on Sept. 23 Inside Elections had the race a toss-up.

On Friday, the Nate Silver site FiveThirtyEight showed computer modeling that has Sorensen winning 64 out of 100 simulations, but the popular vote at 51% to 49%, the tightest since its Oct. 24 read on the race.

In tracking the entirety of the race, FiveThirtyEight had King leading by 4 percentage points shortly after the June primary. Its protections had the pair deadlocked July 28, then flipped for Sorensen shortly after Kansas voters voted down an abortion amendment Aug. 2. Since then, it has remained close.

The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter said the 17th race is a toss-up but in the Democratic Party column.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center of Politics showed the 17th a toss-up but also in the Democratic column.