The 16th district snakes through northern Illinois, from the Wisconsin border to the Indiana border, wrapping the western edge of the Chicago suburbs, and including portions of Rockford, DeKalb, and Streator. It has been 25 years since a Democrat last represented the 16th: even further back, this Republican stronghold was represented by national GOP figures John B. Anderson and Lynn Martin.
Adam Kinzinger has represented the district since 2013: he also served a term as 11th district Congressman before redistricting absorbed him into the 16th. The Republican from Channahon is an Air Force veteran and continues to serve as a pilot in the Air National Guard.
Sara Dady is the Democrat challenging Kinzinger. The Rockford native hasn’t held elected office before – she’s an immigration attorney who has headquartered her practice in her hometown.
The candidates met head-to-head just once during the campaign season -- that was for a debate on radio station WCMY in Ottawa. For our report, Kinzinger was recorded during a Congressional stop at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru. Dady answered questions from WNIJ and an audience at an AAUW forum at Rockford University.
A write-in candidate has also formally filed in Rockford and Winnebago County. John Stassi of Loves Park will not be eligible in the 13 other counties that make up the 16th district.
WNIJ's Peter Medlin contributed to this report.