Congresswoman-elect Lauren Underwood credited grassroots supporters in all seven counties of the 14th District with propelling her to victory Tuesday.
Underwood unseated incumbent Republican Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, to serve the 14th Congressional District. She will be sworn in Jan. 3.
“You all were literally with us every day, many from the very beginning,” Underwood said, speaking to the 50 supporters and volunteers who attended her post-election news conference Wednesday at her St. Charles campaign headquarters. “We would not have been able to do this without your help.”
Her campaign “tried to be everywhere all the time” and lived up to that credo because volunteers brought her campaign into their neighborhoods throughout the district.
“Into your cul-de-sacs, into your counties,” Underwood said. “Even the most rural parts of our district, like DeKalb County. We had anchors in Sycamore. … [Who] let us get to know that community and be a base of operations to do the work. … When we didn’t have an office, we were working out of your homes, and you would store our materials and pass out petitions and collect that. That’s how this campaign started.”
While the Democratic vote was being called the blue wave, there also was the pink wave – the women’s vote – a major factor in the midterm, Underwood said.
“I’m one of the women who marched in the Women’s March and decided to campaign. Time Magazine called us ‘The Avengers.’ What was very clear is that women have been mobilized in a very specific and concrete way to engage in our country,” Underwood said.
From the Women’s March, women formed support groups while others organized, creating a nonpartisan agenda that women could support and a foundation for local organizing, Underwood said.
These groups covered the district, from the Wisconsin border through McHenry and Kane counties, she said.
“We had Women’s March ‘Huddles’ that turned into organizations … [with] a built-in network of support,” she said. “My candidacy, very clearly, had its foundation in one of those groups. And the women in those groups have been our strongest, most loyal and dedicated volunteers, donors, amplifiers and supporters.”
Women in the 14th District run every PTA, church group and many civic organizations, but had not run for office, Underwood said.
“This year, it’s changed,” she said. “Women are superheroes.”