Republican Sharon Brannigan spoke with confidence
“I’m going to ruthless,” Brannigan said during a phone interview from Giordano’s in Orland Park where she spent the night with supporters.
“It looks like I got it. I ran a nice, clean race,” said Brannigan, who handily defeated her opponent, Diane Harris of Joliet, in the 3rd Congressional District primary race.
Brannigan, 52, a Palos Heights resident, had success throughout the 3rd District.
Unofficial vote totals show Brannigan with 17,725 votes to 10,506 ballots cast for Harris. Brannigan ran strong in both Chicago, where she garnered 70 percent of the vote, and the Cook County portion of the district, where she collected 63 percent of the vote. The election was somewhat closer in Will County, Harris’ base of support.
Lipinski ran unopposed in the Democratic primary but still made the rounds meeting and greeting people in Chicago and the suburbs. That included a stop at the Orland Park Sportsplex in the morning.
In a statement thanking supporters, Lipinski said: “So many families are still struggling to make ends meet and are frustrated at Washington’s partisan bickering. Tonight I am celebrating this victory, but tomorrow morning it is back to work to help improve the daily lives of people in the 3rd District and across our nation.”
Brannigan, a Palos Township trustee, said she will focus almost exclusively on ObamaCare and Lipinski’s support of the measure in an effort to defeat him.
“It has affected people across the board,” Brannigan said. “I want to see the repeal of it.”
She added that she’ll campaign in support of term limits—three terms for Congress, two terms for Senate—during a race in which she’ll be a decided underdog.
“This is a bipartisan issue,” she said.
Voters in Oak Lawn on Tuesday overwhelmingly supported a binding referendum that calls for term limits for members of the village board. Beginning in April 2015, board members will be limited to three consecutive terms.
Brannigan said she is a stronger Republican candidate than those faced by Lipinski in the past.
She said her background as a small business owner, elected official and recognition in both the suburban and Chicago portions of the district will be helpful. She added that she will rely heavily on social media to advance her campaign.
Lipinski has never faced a serious re-election challenge, having defeated seven candidates in five races. Lipinski succeeded his father, U.S. Rep. William O. Lipinski.
Brannigan and her husband, Mike, own Sherry’s Flower Shoppe in Orland Park, and she says that her perspective as a small-business owner will bring a fresh approach to Congress.
She chided the Obama Administration as one that “seeks to punish businesses across the nation” and has made it “increasingly difficult for middle class families to hang on to what they have and keep what they earn because of out-of-control spending, over taxation and over regulation.”
Brannigan was sharply critical of the federal Affordable Care Act during the primary race, which she says “was forced upon me and my family, and now it’s unfortunately the law of the land. This law is an intrusion into our personal and professional lives, has caused the reduction of healthcare services and has led to the increase in premiums – this is not what was promised to the American people,” she said.