PEORIA — Incumbent state Sen. Dave Koehler defeated challenger Mary Burress in the 46th District race.
Koehler, a Democrat, received 40,847 votes, with 84% of results tallied Tuesday night. He received 55%. Burress, his Republican challenger, had 33,821 votes, or 45%.
Burress had been leading in the sections of the district in Fulton and Tazewell counties. But Koehler was far ahead in Peoria County, his base.
“I think we’ve done everything we set out to do in this campaign, and I think it’s going to pay off,” the East Bluff resident said as votes were being reported.
Koehler said his goal was to communicate with voters as much as possible. The coronavirus pandemic made face-to-face contact difficult. Telephone calls, an increased social-media effort and personal testimonials helped fill the COVID void.
“That kind of validation really means a lot,” Koehler said. “People don’t necessarily respond to a commercial or what they get in the mail. They respond to what neighbors think or friends think. That goes a long way.”
Koehler, a 14-year incumbent, ran unopposed in 2016. The South Dakota native is a Senate assistant majority leader and also heads the downstate Democratic Senate caucus.
Before he became a state senator, Koehler spent six years on the Peoria County Board and eight years on the Peoria City Council.
For the past decade, Burress has been Tazewell County treasurer. Her current term expires in 2022. She also is a former chairwoman of the Tazewell County GOP.
Burress’ late husband, Bob, was a former Pekin police chief.
Most of Peoria south of Northmoor Road is part of the 46th District. So are Canton, Lewistown, Peoria Heights and most of East Peoria and Pekin, among other places.
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November 3, 2020 at 09:51PM