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Illinois Elects First Gay Congressman, Eric Sorensen

Eric Sorensen
Courtesy Eric Sorensen

The gay Democrat prevailed over a far-right Republican.

Illinois has elected its first out congressman, Eric Sorensen.

Sorensen will represent the 17th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district covers portions of western, central, and northwestern Illinois. It includes industrial cities and rural areas.

Sorensen, a Democrat, declared victory early Wednesday over far-right Republican Esther Joy King. The incumbent, Democrat Cheri Bustos, did not seek reelection.

Sorensen is a gay man who has worked as a weather forecaster at TV stations within the district -- in Rockford and the Quad Cities metro area.

"I am honored to be the Congressman-Elect for Illinois' 17th Congressional District, a place I've called home nearly my entire life," Sorensen wrote on Facebook. "To the wonderful people of Central & Northwest Illinois -- this is for you.

"Today we say loud and clear: this place is special and it's going to be represented by someone who's spent nearly their entire life living, working, and actively engaging in our community here, and will make sure that our community has a seat at the table."

King conceded to Sorensen Wednesday morning. The vote count stands at 52 percent for Sorensen, 48 percent for King.

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