Illinois primary: 7th District US Rep. Danny Davis defeats 4 primary challengers, AP projects

Wednesday, March 20, 2024
US Rep. Danny Davis defeats 4 primary challengers, AP projects
Illinois 2024 primary election: The AP projected 7th Congressional District Rep. Danny Davis will defeat Kina Collins and Melissa Conyears-Ervin.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Longtime U.S. Rep. Danny Davis has won a competitive five-way Democratic primary, the Associated Press projected.

The Democrat first won office in 1996. He faced questions about his fitness for office at age 82.

Davis, who represents Illinois' 7th Congressional District, said those questions are fair but that his experience is valuable, particularly for leadership on key committees. He's a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Davis had enthusiastic party backing. Still, the Democrats challenging him hoped there was enough dissatisfaction among voters to help them. Davis was able to fend off a 2022 primary challenge from progressive anti-violence activist Kina Collins.

Longtime Rep. Danny Davis has won a competitive five-way primary, the Associated Press projected.

Davis spoke after his projected win, saying "I'm calling this a victory" and "Don't ever write off the senior citizens."

Davis cast his own vote Tuesday morning in the Austin neighborhood. The 82-year-old said he felt energized by the feedback he had been receiving from his constituents.

READ MORE | Age, ethics and money to be key issues in Illinois 7th District congressional race

"We need your experience. We need your longevity. We need your tenure. We need your understanding, and we need your ability to bring back resources," Davis said.

Davis made the case that his 28 years in Congress is an asset, enabling him to have influence in Washington, D.C.

Don't ever write off the senior citizens
Danny Davis

He faced one of his toughest paths to reelection from multiple opponents who said investment in the district has been lacking.

CLICK HERE to see live Illinois primary election results

Chief among those opponents was Collins. The 33-year-old progressive came within six points of unseating Davis in the last election.

"I believe that our senior voices and just as important as our first time voters. So who's going to be that bridge builder and our organizer in our district to make that happen?" Collins said.

Also vying for the seat was city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, who ran on a platform centered on her expertise in the financial sector.

The 48-year-old, who is married to Chicago Alderman Jason Ervin, touted her background as a working mother and said she would be a champion in Washington, D.C. for working families.

But she faced questions after the city's inspector general found she violated the city's ethics ordinance in firing two employees who complained she used city resources for personal reasons.

That didn't stop her from receiving a Chicago Teachers Union endorsement. And Conyears-Ervin had said there are other issues that matter to voters.

"Residents want to know are they going to keep food on their table. Residents want to know: How are you going to keep their families safe?" Conyears-Ervin said.

She did well in fundraising, but in the end, she was not able to get the votes. She thanked her supporters on Tuesday night.

"It's been a journey worth taking. I want you all to know that for me, to be able to fight for working families and raise issues that have never been raised, my heart is full," Conyears-Ervin said.

Two years ago, she supported Davis, but on Tuesday night, she found herself a distant second in the five-candidate race.

Other candidates on the Democratic side were Nikhil Bhatia and Kouri Marshall.

Since the district is heavily Democratic, Davis is expected to win in November.

SEE ALSO | US Rep. Danny Davis tries to fend off challengers in Illinois 7th District congressional race

The Associated Press contributed to this report.