Bobby Rush Wins 11th Term in Congress

Within the redrawn 1st Congressional District, Bobby Rush will keep his seat for two more years as suburban voters weren't enough to propel Don Peloquin to a win.

Bobby Rush will continue to represent the 1st Congressional District of Illinois on Capitol Hill after winning his 11th term Tuesday.

As of 10:40 p.m. Tuesday, Rush took in 212,661 votes, compared to 70,903 votes for challenger Don Peloquin, who campaigned as the Republican nominee for the seat. The count was with 582 of 617 precincts reporting from Suburban Cook County, Will County and Chicago.

The new 1st Congressional District now holds a northeast boundary just around Chicago’s Bronzeville community, continuing near the Dan Ryan and along I-57, before cutting west, including towns south of I-80, before ending at rural Elwood at its farthest southwest point. The district includes Chicago neighborhoods, such as Hyde Park, Washington Park, Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Burnside, Washington Heights and Beverly.

Past the city, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Alsip, Blue Island, Oak Forest, Midlothian, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Orland Hills, Mokena, New Lenox, Frankfort, Manhattan and several other towns are now within the same congressional district along with the Chicago neighborhoods.

See which towns are in the new district using this GIS map’s red flag setting.

Bobby Rush was not immediately available for comment.

Don Peloquin said the campaign as an experience brought plenty of rewards, even with the loss.

"I'm encouraged that so many people got together, worked hard, went out and became part of the process instead of sitting on the sidelines," Peloquin said, in a phone interview. "The campaign brought different people from different areas together. To me, this is what America is about. I feel privileged to be able to run for Congress."

Rush, 65, came to politics after activism. He grew up on Chicago’s West Side after moving from Albany, GA, when he was 8 months old. Rush served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1968, and joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in 1966, before going AWOL from the Army. He later was honorably discharged.

Rush then founded the Black Panther Party’s Illinois chapter after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Following a stint in prison for firearm possession, he established a free medical clinic that began the most widespread sickle-cell anemia testing program in the country.

He holds two master’s degrees, one in political science and the other in theological studies. Rush has served as a church pastor and is an ordained Baptist minister.  

During his time in Congress, Rush has supported the Telecommunications Act of 1996 under President Bill Clinton, while more recently he supported the Affordable Health Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. He has also supported numerous gun control laws.

He claims to have brought over $1 billion in funds to the 1st District during his decade in office.


Rush claims the distinction as the only politician to beat President Barack Obama in an election, doing so in the 2000 congressional primary. In October 1999, Rush’s son Huey Rush was killed in a shooting. About five months later, Rush also buried his father.

In 2005, Rush faced foreclosure on his home at the same time he was creating programs to help inner-city residents who were failing on their mortgages.

In 2008, Rush developed cancer of a salivary gland that was later treated through a debilitating combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He announced he had beaten the disease after five months of treatment.

Rush still engages in activism even while in office. Earlier in the year, he donned a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses on the House floor to protest the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and was kicked off the floor.

Peloquin served as Blue Island mayor for 27 years, and said earlier in the campaign he will not run for another term as mayor. This was his first campaign for an office other than the city's mayoral seat.

Peloquin said he doesn't see another political move for him on the horizon.

“I'll go back to work,” Peloquin said. "I'll continue working with the great mayors around here I've built relationships with. When my term as mayor is completed April of next year, I'll leave with my head held high."

See who won other Illinois Congressional races.

Visit our election guides for other updates.

  • Orland Park
  • Tinley Park
  • Oak Lawn
  • Beverly-Mt. Greenwood
  • Palos
  • Oak Forest
  • Evergreen Park
  • Frankfort
  • Mokena

Return later for updated voting results.

Dm November 07, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Anyone who complains about Mr. Rush, and didn't vote is part of the problem.
Chris November 07, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Wake up LW. A former Black Panther is your representative.
Frankfort Resident November 07, 2012 at 06:43 PM
I voted and it was not for Rush. I bet he does not even know where Frankfort is. What a bunch of crap that we are lumped in the same district as the southside of Chicago. The concerns of the Southwest Suburbs citizens are no concern to Bobby Rush. He only cares about his Southside of Chicago citizens. Him and Jesse need to go join thier BFF Former Gov. Blago in prison!!!!!!!
lala November 07, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Hey Bobby! Let's play a game. See if you can find your way to Elwood for breakfast. Stop in Manhattan for lunch and dinner in New Lenox. Do this with out GPS. Do you know what highway to get on?
mark albrecht November 07, 2012 at 08:12 PM
The thing I'm thankful for is all the same pieces of crap that put Illinois in the dire situation its in were re-elected. And I'm tired of Chicago politicians representing me. And to be frank, as long as towns in the southwest are lumped with the ghettos, crap like Rush is what we'll always be getting.
KrisM November 08, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Michael Madigan and his creative redistricting is to blame for this. He's probably very thrilled with his results.
Mike November 08, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I don't understand all the concern about Rush. Throughout his life he has shown concern for those less fortunate. His old district has one of the highest crimes rates in the country. He nows has some of the LW area in his district, this will reduce the crime rate. This proves my statement that he shows concern for the less fortunate. His district will no longer be the biggest joke in America. Of course we have a president that is a bigger joke. It's over folks.
Dave Wagner November 08, 2012 at 04:39 PM
From what I can determine, he supposedly brought over $1 bil into his district over the last 20 years, and are his constituents any better off? Are more of them better trained for jobs? Are there more jobs available? Is the crime rate lower? Is the graduation rate any better? I don't have all the data that I need, but from what I have I can say that in general, his constituency is worse off. Is it entirely his fault? No, but his party, they run Springfield by the way, has helped to make things worse. Has he fought with them? Nope, a loyal party member, not doing much, just trying to get re-elected. I wish I was wrong.
Mike November 08, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Dave, you're right on. Drive through the eastern end of our new district. Of course, don't do that between noon and 2am, especially on a hot summer day. The Englewood area is worse than Detroit. This is a good picture of the future for the southwest suburbs. Rush is a sick man, but eventually he will be replaced with another democratic party hack. Our area is now being squeezed by the democrats in Joliet and Chicago. We sat here and watched it happen. We are complicit and I think we are too late to do anything about it. Illinois is going down the tubes and most of us are unable to take the financial hit in selling our homes 50% under market value. It's the worse case scenario for anyone who is a good citizen who has played by the rules all his life. Sorry to be so negative, but the truth is the truth.
Bill H November 09, 2012 at 12:52 PM
The State of Illinois is bankrupt, yet all the same clowns get reelected? Shameful lemmings in this State. Death rate in Chicago higher than last year. I blame the idiots who keep voting for more of the same. More takers than makers in Illinois. Abe Lincoln must be spinning in his grave.
freddie November 09, 2012 at 01:24 PM
I don't get all the grief Congressman Rush is getting here. I live in Orland Park and the last time we were redistricted, after the 2000 census, I was put in Bobby Rush's district. While I was happy that I was in a Democratic district (yes, I am originally from the SW side of Chicago and a Democrat), I was not overly pleased that it was Rush's district. I was hoping for Lipinski. I was worried that Mr. Rush would not really think about this side of his district. Over the years, I have written to the Congressman about 10-15 times about different issues and every time I have gotten a response. Not always the response I wanted, but I did get a response. WHile I still believe he pays more attention to his base constituents on the south side of Chicago, he does listen to us out here in the burbs. I have seen him at a forum in Orland Park a few years ago, so he does know we exist here. Give him a chance. And to the one who was complaining about his speech.. HE is a cancer survivor. He had cancer in him salivary gland. He has had part of his jaw removed and is lucky he can still speak at all.
Dave Wagner November 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Give him a chance? He's been in office 20 years. It's like saying we should give Madigan a chance.
freddie November 09, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Yes, he has been in office over 20 years and yes, I say to the people he is new to, give him a chance to work for you. In the last 10 years, I have had no real problem with him. He has responded to my letters, overall, his voting record is in line more or less with my values. He is not really a bad congressman...or are you one of those who hate him just because he is from Chicago and a Democrat? If so, no one except a suburban Republican will work for you, but if you have an open mind give him a chance and you may just be surprised.
Dave Wagner November 09, 2012 at 04:07 PM
My reasons are my reasons. I am not trying to change your mind, and you are not going to change mine. I don't agree with most of his positions. I don't agree with his 'conversion' from Black Panther to legislator. I can't abide he went AWOL. I don't think he has done the right things for his constituents, inner city or suburban. I don't think most of the career politicians, no matter the party, do as much as they can unless you count lip service and throwing more money at the problems. Do you like him just because he is a Chicago Democrat? Why don't you just call me a racist while you are at it. You've apparently made your mind up about me based on my disagreement with your opinions. I was willing to continue to try to have an intelligent discourse until I got to that republican comment. And by the way, Freddie, why be anonymous? Got a last name? And I say this to ALL who opine on a variety of subjects - it is Chicken 'bleep' not to let others know who you are.
freddie November 09, 2012 at 05:07 PM
yep..i have a last name, but I learned long ago after making comments on another board never to use my full name since I started getting phone calls in the middle of the night from people who disagreed with me. ANd no, I don't like him just because he is a Chicago Democrat, but being a Democrat does go a long way to my liking of him. Like I said, I am a Democrat. I lived my first 30 years about a mile north of Midway. I, unlike a lot of people I know, as I grew older became more concerned about social issues. As my old companions grew more materialistic and conservative, I grew more liberal. My father, who in the 50's was involved in politics in Stickney township and ran a small Ma & Pa store there for years, told me a long time ago that "Republicans are for big businesses and themselves, Democrats are for the little guy" and in my life, I have seen just that. I am now 55 years old and looking at how the Republican agenda wants to take away the safety nets that people need to survive. I see how the Republican agenda wants to give the Big Businesses more leeway to take away hard fought rights from the workers. I also believe as they say in Church "whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers, that you do unto Me". If you treat the poor and downtrodden poorly, you do so to the Lord. The people who have more, have a moral obligation to help out those not as fortunate. These are values I do not see in the GOP agenda.
freddie November 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Also, I never mentioned race, you brought that up. I just mentioned he was a Chicago Democrat. It seems that you have a problem with someone from Chicago representing you. We are lucky here in Illinois. We have 18 representatives in Congress. At least our rep is from somewhere close to us. Could you imagine being in a state like Wyoming that has only 1 Representative for the entire state? How would you like to try to get your rep to do something for you in your town when he is from a town 500 miles away?
Darnell November 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Bobbie Rush was voted into office solely based on race. Plain and simple! The entire Districts boundaries give him an unprecedented edge and keep the District in Democrat's control. The District has been represented by African Americans since 1929 and has not elected another party's representative since 1932. The ethnic demographics give them the edge! The district has the highest percentage of African-American residents of any congressional district in the nation. 29.5% White, 65.5% Black, 1.4% Asian, 4.8% Hispanic, 0.2% Native American, 1.4% other. This is Democracy? Tilting the balance of the voting bloc to one specific race! No,,this is designed control by a party to assure a seat! Even up the odd's here so the people have a real choice! Like Illinois,,this district has become a Monarchy. Democracy no longer exists in Illinois, Chicago or Crook County!
Bill H November 09, 2012 at 06:46 PM
How can you say we are lucky in Illinois? This state is bankrupt. I own a small business and you would not believe the unemployment charges they keep trying to throw at us. We have never unemployed anyone unless they were fired for stealing. It has cost us thousands in fighting unfair charges by State government. As a job provider in this state we are ready to call it quits. After paying more than 1.5 million in taxes and having our income decrease 5% we can no longer afford to keep our doors open. Take a look around. We hung in there longer than most but it cost us dearly. To many takers in this state. Not enough makers or givers. It will get worse, then what? Crime will be on the rise just to survive. But those who voted for it will get what they asked for. Good luck.
Bill H November 09, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I meant a 50% decrease in personal profit above. Cant provide jobs when you cannot make payroll. Thanks Illinois.
Dave Wagner November 09, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Freddie - the last name thing is a cop out. Big business provides the jobs that are necessary. Do you know tha Big Business pays for half of the FICA, and people like me that are in business for themselves pay DOUBLE what employees pay? Where do you think the government gets the money to help the downtrodden and the poor? I'm sure you are smart enough to know they just can't print all they want. Keep raising taxes on the people that provide jobs and sooner or later there won't be enough of them to pay the bill. Give the opportunity to work to most people and you have more kicking into the government. None of this happens overnight. But if you are going to paint all the republicans with the same brush you are showing a certain narrow-mindedness that I don't think you realize.
Dave Wagner November 09, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I said that BOTH are to blame for the problems. I didn't mention that the Democrats have had control of most major cities for years (Detroit, early 60's, Chicago before that, LA and NY about then, etc.) and Illinois in general for nearly 30 years. despite the occasional goveror. How good of a job have thet done? How many businesses have left Illinois and taken jobs with them to other states? Do your homework. Raising taxes is not always the answer. And giving people free stuff for generations is a long slow path to HUGE problems. I have no illusions about the motivations of most politicians. We all know their 1st priority is to get re-elected. But I'd rather see a few people who provide 1000's of jobs get rich than see those same people unemployed and dependent on a bankrupt state and a soon to be bankrupt federal government.
Bill H November 09, 2012 at 10:29 PM
I don't need to get rich. I would be happy to be comfortable and to be able to give more to my employees. The federal and state government led by the Democratic party has taken that decision out of our hands. Too much free stuff with no accountability. Our country is in distress. The sad part is we have a President that does not understand economics. You cannot spend your way out of debt. This was the most corrupt election ever, led by lies and deceitful reporting and adds. The cover up of Benghazi is going to be worse than Watergate if the lying media can be truthful and report without covering up for Obama. It is so strange that Petraus stepped down to avoid the hearings. He will be called to testify. I hope all the liars go to jail. From the top down. If this happened to a Republican the media would be handling this a whole different way. Where the hell is FEMA in NY and NJ? Obama got his photo opp and played Christie like a fiddle . Like I said before SHAMEFUL.
John Greer November 10, 2012 at 01:50 PM
You probably are racist.....the idea of a black man representing you in Congress does not bode well with you...that is what your whining is all about.
John Greer November 10, 2012 at 01:51 PM
He should be afraid of neo-con racists, don't you think so?
John Greer November 10, 2012 at 01:52 PM
You probably are racist.....the idea of a black man representing you in Congress does not bode well with you...that is what your whining is all about.
John Greer November 10, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Did you read that he just survived salivary gland cancer? That is why he speaks like that. Why would you ever care, you never like black people in the first place,
John Greer November 10, 2012 at 01:56 PM
You probably are racist.....the idea of a black man representing you in Congress does not bode well with you......that is what your whining is all about.
paul cervenka November 13, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Learn the play book. Play by the rules. The South suburbs should band together and redraw the Cook County boundry so were no longer in, Cook county! Don't fight, educate. Like the Fire District. Why do we continue to have one? Why? What's the advantage? It's twice the cost, or more than a Fire Department. For no good reason. End it! A Fire department can be funded in any manner. The Fire district (a taxing body) can only tax you to death while they enjoy you clothing them, feeding them, housing them, building them a training school, etc. Sounds like raising your children only not quite as lavish. It doesn't have to be this way. You have the power (referendum) to end this mess. Just like any other mess. Use your rights. YOU are the Government.
**ANGEL eyes** November 13, 2012 at 08:11 PM
You demons are STILL at it! Congressman Rush has been fighting, serving and sacrificing for the PEOPLE since before he was getting paid to do so! It is calling PASSION and PURPOSE! MayBe YOU ALL should find yours instead of HATING on this man. YOU ALL sound BITTER and RACIST! A bitter root just doest produce good fruit! You all should be ashamed of yourselves mentioning his sickness! To HELL w/ you cavemen!
**ANGEL eyes** November 13, 2012 at 08:13 PM
OBAMA all the way!!!!! LOLOLOLOLOL


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