U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston rolled up a better than two to one margin over her Republican challenger Joel Pollak today to win a seventh term in Congress.

Jan Schakowsky

Speaking to supporters at a Democratic Party of Evanston victory rally at the Firehouse Grill on Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Schakowsky praised what she called the “incredible work” of campaign volunteers.

It was a “beautiful team” with people of all ages and ethnicities representing the diversity of the district.

She said that it appeared results elsewhere in the country would likely throw Democrats into the minority in the House, “so that means we are going to have to stand together stronger and tougher than ever before.”

She called the two-year session just ending “the most productive session of Congress in recent history” with health care reform and other bills passed.

Now, she said, Democrats would have to turn their focus to preserving the changes they’ve won.

Democratic activists react to the local victories.

With nearly 95 percent of all precincts in the district reporting, Schakowsky had 66 percent of the vote to a little over 31 percent for Pollak and 2.5 percent for Green Party candidate Simon Ribeiro.

If that matches the final breakdown, it would mean Schakowsky received the narrowest victory margin of her congressional career. She won  75 percent of the vote in 2008 and her lowest previous performance was 70 percent in 2002.

Asked whether the tea party movement, which Pollak embraced, had cut into Schakowsky’s victory margin, State Senator and Evanston Democratic Committeeman Jeff Schoenberg said he’d seen little evidence of tea party support in Evanston.

But he said Pollak seemed to draw greater than average support in some heavily Jewish precincts in Skokie and Lincolnwood and that, with a number of hot races in the area, it appeared that some conservative voters in Des Plaines and Park Ridge who may have stayed home in 2008, figuring they couldn’t succeed in swinging Illinois to John McCain from Barack Obama, turned out this year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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