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Hurley Trounces Fernandez For 35th District House Seat

Democrat Fran Hurley defeats her Republican challenger Ricardo Fernandez to win a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Democrat Fran Hurley has emerged victorious in her quest to win the 35th District State House seat against Republican challenger Ricardo Fernandez. 

Hurley, a longtime 19th Ward aide, bested the Orland Park physical therapist. Hurley won about 83.5 percent of the vote in Chicago and over 54 percent in the suburbs, with just two precincts outstanding. The vote tally stands at 32,256 to 15,218, with 108 of 110 precincts reporting

The race has a familiar dynamic seen in many other state legislature races on the Southwest Side: a Chicago Democrat battling it out against a suburban Republican opponent. 

While she was out campaigning on Tuesday, Hurley told Patch that she was excited about the opportunities the future might hold. 

"We've been working hard and knocking on doors since last Halloween," Hurley said. "It's a very humbling experience to see all the people that have taken the time to help."

Hurley did not return a call to comment after her win. 

For his part, Fernandez remains hopeful that Republicans will continue to put up strong candidates to challenge the Democratic stronghold. 

"I was really proud of the candidates that we had," Fernandez said. "I really think that when Republicans get it together we have a chance. We have great ideas. I think the Republican field is going to do well in the future." 

The retirement of longtime State Rep. Ed Maloney opened the field up to a new face in the district.

The original Republican candidate Steve Williams stepped aside on July 16 and party officials were forced to find another candidate to run in his place. Fernandez filed papers to run on Aug. 21, less than three months before the election.

His candidacy then underwent legal challenges and he wasn't officially cleared to run until Oct. 11. Just days before early voting commenced. The entire Fernandez campaign ran on about $3,000. 

Fernandez shared his perspective on his unconventional path to the ballot with Patch last week. 

"I think the whole strategy for the Democrats was not let my campaign get going," Fernandez said Tuesday night.  

In three weeks he will head to Haiti to help impoverished residents of that island and plans to continue working with various groups and local causes. Another campaign is definitely a possibility. 

"I am going to start earlier and do things a little differently," he said. "But I already understand a lot and learned a lot."

The 35th District includes portions of Orland Park, Orland Hills, Palos Heights, Alsip and Chicago's 19th Ward. 

freddie November 07, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I live in Orland Park. Fran Hurley was the ONLY candidate in any election to actually come out and knock on my door in the 20 years I have lived out here. In discussing issues that mattered to me, her positions lined up with mine so it was an easy choice.
Dave Wagner November 07, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Great! Another 19th Ward Hack going to Springfield. Golly, do I feel my tax dollars will be used wisely. Not surprised the Dems in charge of the challenges drink from same jug as those who make the decisions. But the real problem is that if you flipped it all around, it would be the same. Elections have become all about demonizing the opponent and extremism. Obama said last night he would try to unify everyone, reach acroos the aisle, etc. He said that 4 years ago. He also said he would cut the deficit in half, instead it went up $5 trillion. I hope he tries a little harder. The republicans are going to dig in and fight like cornered Badgers. This surely won't help things at all. I really hope they all start acting like they care about this country instead of working just to get re-elected.
Steven Williams November 07, 2012 at 05:40 PM
FWIW, I notified the respective committeemen on June 27 that I intended to withdraw from the election due to a change in personal circumstances that led to me not wanting to continue pursuing the position.

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