DECATUR — Following an election season dominated by debate over Illinois’ SAFE-T Act, incumbent State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, has won reelection over her opponent in the race for the 96th Illinois House District.

With 100% of precincts reporting Tuesday night, unofficial results showed Scherer defeating political newcomer Lisa Smith by nearly 5,000 votes. Scherer earned 17,828 votes, compared to Smith’s 12,916. 

Scherer spent election night with family and supporters at her own home rather than somewhere having a watch party as results came in.

 “I’m very happy,” she said. “I don’t like all that big hoopla stuff.”

 Her son sent her a text when it was clear she’d won, she said.

 “He said he was so proud of me for continuing to fight to make the community a better place, and I think that says it all,” Scherer said.

The 96th District was drawn to favor Democrats. 

Illinois Democrats, who controlled the state’s post-Census redistricting process, carved down the district so it stretched from the urban cores of Springfield to Decatur and excluded rural communities such as Kincaid, Edinburg, Stonington and Blue Mound. 

The 96th was also the only contested House race in Macon County. William Hauter, R-Morton, in the 87th; Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, in the 88th; Tim Butler, R-Springfield, in the 95th; and Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, in the 107th all ran unopposed. 

A full-time legislator, Scherer has served in the Illinois House since January 2013. She previously worked as a teacher in the Decatur and Maroa-Forsyth public school districts for over 30 years.  

Scherer serves on multiple education committees, including Elementary & Secondary Education Appropriations and Higher Education. 

Scherer faced criticisms from Smith and from other local Republicans for her vote in support of the SAFE-T Act in 2021. As one of just 60 House members who voted for the act, and as one of the final representatives to cast her vote, Scherer was one of the bill’s deciding votes. 

Smith said it was Scherer’s SAFE-T Act vote that helped convince her to run. 

Smith is a pediatric nurse practitioner from Auburn. She spent much of her campaign rallying against the SAFE-T Act, arguing that it should be repealed and replaced. 

In an interview earlier this month, Scherer told the Herald & Review she stood by her vote. The elimination of Illinois’ cash bail system could stand to help certain minority populations, she said. 

“For people to say that, you know, rapists are going to be running free, that is just, it’s inciting unnecessary fear is what it’s doing,” she said. 

Scherer said would support trailer bills amending the SAFE-T Act but declined to specify which changes she’d like to see. Democratic SAFE-T Act discussions are ongoing leading up to the legislature’s veto session Nov. 15-17.

Contact Taylor Vidmar at (217) 421-6949. Follow her on Twitter: @taylorvidmar11. 

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November 8, 2022 at 11:48PM