Evanston resident Robyn Gabel cruised to election to a full term in the state legislature Tuesday.

Robyn Gabel is introduced at the DPOE victory party.

No Republican filed to run against her, and Gabel supporters succeeded in having her Libertarian Party opponent, Steve Funk, kicked off the ballot by challenging his petition signatures.

Funk ended up running a write-in campaign, and write-in votes haven’t been counted yet. But the vote total run up by Gabel made it implausible that Funk could dislodge her from the seat to which she was appointed in April after winning the February Democratic primary.

With 86 of 91 precincts reporting, Gabel had 26,198 votes. That’s less than 2,000 votes shy of the total then-incumbent Julie Hamos rolled up in the the last mid-term election for the 18th District seat in 2006, when Hamos was running unopposed.

Gabel said she was thrilled and excited by her victory.

She said she had been spending time delving into the issues the state legislature faces — especially balancing the budget.

She said the only way of solving the budget problem is to create more jobs. She said she hopes that the state can focus more effort on encouraging research and development activities and venture capital programs to get new businesses to stay in Illinois rather than moving to the coasts.

Her 18th District seat includes most of Evanston as well as much of Wilmette and Winnetka and a small portion of Rogers Park.

In the state house race to represent the northwest corner of Evanston, Democrat Daniel Biss of Evanston won a narrow victory over Republican Hamilton Chang of Wilmette.

With 93 of 100 precincts reporting, Biss had 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Chang.

The 17th District, in addition to the portion of Evanston generally west of Ewing Avenue, includes much of Northfield, New Trier and Niles townships.

Two years ago Biss lost narrowly to incumbent Republican Elizabeth Coulson of Glenview in the district. Coulson decided to retire from the legislature this year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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