Watch CBS News

Delia Ramirez wins Democratic nomination in Illinois' newly drawn 3rd Congressional District

Delia Ramirez wins Democratic nomination in newly created 3rd Congressional District
Delia Ramirez wins Democratic nomination in newly created 3rd Congressional District 02:27

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois State Rep. Delia Ramirez handily defeated Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) and two other candidates on Tuesday to take the Democratic nomination for the newly redrawn 3rd Congressional District.

With 52.5% of the vote counted, Ramirez was leading Villegas 65.8% to 24%, with Iymen Chehade and Juan Aguirre both in single digits.

Ramirez will go on to face Republican Justin Burau, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.

After the 2020 Census, the 3rd Congressional District in Illinois was redrawn to capitalize on Chicago's growing Hispanic population, giving the district a voting population that is nearly 44% Latino. The new district stretches from the Northwest Side of Chicago to far western suburbs like Wheaton and West Chicago.

Congresswoman Marie Newman, the district's incumbent representative, was drawn into the same district as 4th District incumbent Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in the new congressional map, and rather than running for re-election in the 3rd District or challenging Garcia, she opted to run against incumbent Congressman Sean Casten in the 6th District.

With an open contest in the new 3rd District, the contest quickly became a race between Ramirez and Villegas, who both easily outraised their far-less-known rivals, professor Iymen Chehade and registered nurse and cannabis businessman Juan Aguirre.

Ramirez managed to defeat Villegas, despite being outraised through early June. Villegas raised nearly $950,000 as of early June, compared to $620,000 for Ramirez, though she rode a wave of support from fellow progressives, including Congressman Garcia, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Chicago alderpersons Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), as well as from the influential Chicago Teachers Union.

During the campaign, Ramirez hailed her sponsorship of legislation to create a fully elected school board in Chicago by 2026, and her work with state lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage to seniors regardless of their immigration status.

She represents an Illinois House district that stretches across parts of the Hermosa, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, and Ukrainian Village neighborhoods, overlapping with Villegas' 36th Ward for a few blocks.

Villegas, who was once Mayor Lori Lightfoot's floor leader, ran as a more moderate Democrat.

A Marine veteran who served during Operation Desert Shield, Villegas has represented the 36th Ward on the Northwest Side since 2015, has touted his progressive credentials, including his push for a universal basic income pilot program in Chicago. While Lightfoot opposed his idea when he first proposed it, she later included a similar plan as part of her 2022 budget. It will send $500 monthly checks to 5,000 low-income Chicago families for the next year.

He was also supported by former Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who is known for his decades of work on immigration reform.

Chehade is a professor at Columbia College Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focusing largely on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He raised about $90,000 for his campaign.

Meantime, Chehade finds himself in the middle of an ethics controversy surrounding Newman as she runs against Casten in the 6th District. Chehade sued Newman last year, claiming she reneged on a promise to hire him as her chief foreign policy advisor if he agreed not to run against her in 2020.

The lawsuit was later settled, although terms of the settlement have not been made public. Meantime, the House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation, after the independent Office of Congressional Ethics found "substantial reason to believe" Newman offered Chehade a government job so he wouldn't run against her.

Aguirre, a part-time owner of an Illinois marijuana dispensary license, raised only about $11,000 for his campaign.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.