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Duke Trustee wins Illinois governor, multiple alums head to Congress

Duke had an eventful night as the midterm election results rolled in Tuesday. 

A trustee who recently promised to pay back $330,000 in taxes after he removed toilets from one of his homes won the race for Illinois governor, and the Associated Press called an Illinois congressional race in favor of a Duke alumni over an opponent who denies the Holocaust by 50 points.  

But the Democrats did not get as large of a "blue wave" as many wanted, and Duke alums did not get a Duke Blue wave either. At least five of the 11 alumni who made the November congressional ballot fell to their opponents. 

Aside from Congress, Democrat J.B. Pritzker—a member of Duke's Board of Trustees—beat out incumbent Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race. Standing before a roaring Illinois crowd Tuesday night, the billionaire businessman celebrated his victory.

"That is Illinois—full of light that comes from the people who endure and overcome struggles. That light brought triumph tonight," Pritzker said in his acceptance speech. "After all, we're the land of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama."

In Congress, both of Duke's Alabama Republicans emerged successful. 

Bradley Byrne, Trinity '77, is a two-term incumbent Republican Representative in Alabama's 1st District who won his third term Tuesday night. At Duke, he was a member of the student government body that is now Duke Student Government. His district has been Republican for over 50 years. Mo Brooks, Trinity '75, is a four-term incumbent also in Alabama who also won another term. The Republican representative faced a challenge from Democrat Peter Joffrion for the 5th District's seat.

In California, a pair of Democratic Duke alumni were projected to win their races as of 2:40 a.m. Wednesday. Mike Levin, Law School '05, is a California Democrat in one of the nation's most-watched House races. Scott Peters, Trinity '80, is a three-term Democratic incumbent in California's 52nd District. 

Dan Lipinski, Ph.D. '98, is an incumbent representative for Illinois' 3rd District who was projected to win. The Democrat has been in office since 2005, and recently returned to campus to discuss partisanship in congress.  

Aside from alumni, Democratic incumbent David Price—professor with tenure at the Sanford School of Public Policy and in the political science department—held on to North Carolina's 4th District.

Dan McCready, Trinity '05, was within one point of Republican Mark Harris to represent North Carolina's 9th District, and the race had not been called as of 1 a.m. Harris delivered a victory speech, but McCready had not yet conceded as of 1 a.m.

Not all Blue Devils on the Congressional ballots fared so well.

Jesse Colvin, Trinity' 06, was testing the political waters for the first time, running for the House as a Democrat in Maryland's 1st District. He lost to Republican Andy Harris.

Seth Grossman, Trinity '71, is a Republican in New Jersey's 2nd District. He has drawn criticism for racially charged, controversial social media posts that caused the National Republican Congressional Committee to withdraw its support for him and call him a "bigot." He was projected to lose the race.

Paul Wright, Law School '75, fell in his race as a Republican to represent North Carolina's 12th District, which weaves up through the state from Charlotte to Greensboro. Democrat Ken Harbaugh, Trinity '96, lost his race to represent Ohio's 7th District. Todd Litton, Trinity '92, was the Democratic nominee for Texas' 2nd District but lost his election.

Bre Bradham

Bre is a senior political science major from South Carolina, and she is the current video editor, special projects editor and recruitment chair for The Chronicle. She is also an associate photography editor and an investigations editor. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief and local and national news department head. 

Twitter: @brebradham



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