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.