14th Congressional District candidate Underwood galvanizes supporters before Election Day

Democratic 14th Congressional District candidate looking to unseat Hultgren

Democratic 14th Congressional District candidate Lauren Underwood speaks to her supporters Monday afternoon at her Woodstock office.
Democratic 14th Congressional District candidate Lauren Underwood speaks to her supporters Monday afternoon at her Woodstock office.

The woman hoping to turn Illinois’ 14th Congressional District seat blue galvanized her supporters Monday afternoon in Woodstock.

Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, in a tight race that has garnered national attention.

Underwood, a registered nurse and political newcomer, told supporters Monday at her Woodstock office, 129 E. Van Buren St., that she’s ready for the job.

“We cannot be swayed. We cannot doubt because this is what we built – not in a day, not in a week, not in a month, but over a year and a half,” Underwood told supporters who went out to canvass the neighborhoods. “The people of the 14th [District] have had an opportunity to know each and every one of us. This campaign is not about me. It’s about us – about the people of the 14th.”

Hultgren, a conservative who votes with President Donald Trump the majority of the time, holds one of the seats Democrats hope to turn Tuesday with a so-called blue wave to retake the House of Representatives.

Underwood, who suffers from a heart condition, has made health care a cornerstone of her campaign.

She said Americans “need to have access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage” and should be able to afford their prescription drugs.

“You don’t have to be a nurse to know that. I just happen to be,” she said.

After her stop in Woodstock, Underwood sent out a statement defending herself against claims published on some far-right websites that she never worked as a nurse.

“The facts are simple: I’m proud to be a licensed registered nurse in the state of Illinois and two other jurisdictions. I specialize in public health nursing. I have spent my career fighting for affordable, quality health care,” she said in the statement. “Throughout my clinical training and decade of nursing experience, I have spent thousands of hours working with patients. I look forward to carrying the values of the 14th District with me to Washington to make real progress on issues like health care that are important to the families of this community.”

According to the election-tracking website FiveThirtyEight, Underwood has a 69 percent chance of winning.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, who was at Underwood’s Woodstock office Monday, said he believes she will prevail.

“I think McHenry County’s going to come out pretty strong for her,” Franks said. “I think she’s going to win. I think Lauren fits the district pretty well.”

Franks also said he believes Democrat Sean Casten of Downers Grove will overcome incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, for the state’s competitive 6th Congressional District seat.

“I think Sean wins as well,” Franks said, adding that he believes both Hultgren and Roskam have “voted against the citizens here by devaluing their homes and increasing their taxes.”

“They were playing tribal politics as a great cost to our citizens,” he said. “I think both Sean and Lauren win as a result.”

Franks also is optimistic about
J.B. Pritzker, who is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

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