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Democrat candidate rally

Macon County clerk candidate Amy Rueff, right, addresses dozens of party volunteers at a get-out-the-vote rally Monday afternoon at the Macon County Democratic Party headquarters in downtown Decatur. She is joined by Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, a candidate for the 13th Congressional District.

DECATUR — On election eve, Democratic congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan had one message to the dozens who saw her in Decatur: Vote.

Monday saw volunteers of both parties push for turnout, enduring a rainy, cold day to knock on doors and encourage residents to get the polls before they close Tuesday night.

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For Democrats, that meant a mini rally and speech from Londrigan, a Springfield resident who is running against three-term Republican Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville in the 13th Congressional District.

While the popular sentiment among political observers is that Londrigan must carry the college areas of the 14-county district like Champaign-Urbana, Normal and Edwardsville, Londrigan told her supporters at the Democratic headquarters in downtown Decatur that this is the area that will put her over the top today. 

“Decatur is where we flip the seat,” she said. “We have so many folks here in Decatur, this is where we take it over the finish line.”

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Incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorvillle, waves to friends in the audience as challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, D-Springfield, waits for the start of the debate for the 13th District seat, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, at the Normal Theater. The race between the two was too close to call late Tuesday night.

About 1.15 million early ballots and mail-in ballots had been cast in Illinois as of Monday, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, a 48.9 percent increase over early voting in the 2014 midterm election.

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In Macon County, more than 11,000 early, grace, nursing home and provisional ballots had been cast as of Monday night, something county Clerk Steve Bean credited to the work being done by the various campaigns and the local Democratic and Republican parties.

Officials from the 13th District’s other major counties such as Sangamon and Champaign have also reported record early turnout this year.

The race for the 13th Congressional District has caught national attention in recent months, as prominent figures such as Vice President Mike Pence and Congressman John Lewis, D-Georgia, have come to campaign for their party’s candidate.

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Millions of dollars have poured into the district from outside groups running ads for their respective candidates. For example, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the largest Republican super PAC focused on retaining the party's majority in the House, alone has spent $1.5 million on advertisement on behalf of Davis.

Londrigan was joined at Monday's brief rally by two local Democrats seeking county seats: treasurer candidate April Kostenski and clerk candidate Amy Rueff. Kostenski is challenging incumbent Treasurer Ed Yoder, and Rueff is facing Republican Josh Tanner to replace the retiring Bean.

As she spoke to the crowd, Rueff said there was something special occurring in this election cycle.

“We do believe it’s the year of the woman, and we believe it’s the year of the Democrat,” she said.

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Contact Ryan Voyles at (217) 421-7985. Follow him on Twitter: @RVVoyles

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