*UPDATED 11/04/2020 @12:35 a.m.
In the race for the 12th District Congressional seat, incumbent Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) easily deflected the challenge from Democrat Ray Lenzi of Makanda.
By 10 p.m. on Tuesday, it was obvious that Bost, who will serve a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, had pulled away from Lenzi, leading by nearly 60,000 votes with 75% of the precincts reporting.
By midnight, Bost led 181,404 to 107,757, with 94% of the precincts reporting.
Lenzi, a retired educator with a coal mining background, said he felt that even though he lost, his candidacy also served a purpose.
"I'll be frank," he said, "I ran because of Donald Trump, because of the backward direction this country has taken in health care, minimum wage, income equality, social justice issues, and calling the climate crisis a hoax."
Lenzi said as the country continues to debate these issues, his former opponent has pledged to meet and chat about these issues.
"We're going to make that happen," said Bost.
Bost said that while he believe the climate crisis is real, he doesn't believe in sacrificing the future generations without a viable means of replacing fossil fuels with sustainable energy.
"I'm not a 'sky is falling' person," he said. He also referred to current plans in the works that included offsetting CO2 omissions by planting trees and plants on available land, including unused space on the nation's interstate highways.
"Everybody wants it," said Bost, "we're just not willing to sacrifice the future."
Lenzi hopes that Bost will find a way to incorporate some of his ideas into his existing platforms.
"We have to figure out a way to take care of people that create electricity that runs the conveniences," he said. "I'll give him ideas and see if he can find a way to conform them into his platforms."
Bost said his tenure in the House will allow him to continue as a ranking member of the Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, and Transportation committees, all of which he deemed have significant impact on his southern Illinois district.
He specifically mentioned the current infrastructure bill that "can put a tremendous amount of people to work."
"We need to make sure our infrastructure is advancing," said Bost, "our waterways, rail, air, and our connectivity to the internet.
Bost said the most pressing concern will be to follow through the work being completed on vaccines and testing to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There are as many as five companies that are working on vaccines," he said, noting they are already being mass produced.
He said there are groups already putting together ways to mass distribute the vaccine.
"We have to stop this pandemic, move forward, and rebuild our economy," he said.
The 12th District includes Jackson, Williamson, Perry, Franklin, Randolph, Union, Alexander, Jefferson, Monroe, Pulaski and St. Clair counties. It also includes a portion of Madison County in the Metro-East region.