UPDATED 11:45 a.m. Wednesday
David Gill is the apparent winner in the Democratic nomination for Congress in the new 13th Congressional District, meaning that he will face U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, for the fourth time in November.
Unofficial returns, which will not be certified by the State Board of Elections until April 20, give the Bloomington physician 15,507 votes to 15,364 votes for Greene County State's Attorney Matt Goetten.
But Goetten, in a statement released this morning, refused to concede defeat, calling Gill's victory statement "premature."
Goetten's campaign manager, Vlad Gutman, said absentee, provisional and overseas ballots still remain to be counted and that they could affect the current 143-vote margin. He said the Goetten campaign would not concede defeat.
"Washington might tell us that our voices don't matter, but this campaign is about fixing Congress, and that's why every vote must be counted," Goetten said in a prepared statement. "As a father, veteran and state's attorney, I always been inspired by the service and the Democratic values of hard work, fairness, and a strong middle class. I am humbled by the strength of the grassroots campaign we built together, and I believe we must wait until all votes are counted before declaring victory in this race."
Before Macoupin County ballots were counted around 4:30 a.m. today, Gill had a lead of 14,245 to 13,220.
Macoupin County Democrats favored Goetten, 2,144 to 1,262. But the margin wasn't enough to overcome Gill's lead.
The Gill campaign claimed victory early today.
"It was a long night but now we move on to a new day and a better future for the people of central Illinois and southwest Illinois," Gill said. "To Democrats across central Illinois and southwest Illinois, I enthusiastically and gratefully accept your nomination for Congress."
Gill owed much of his victory to Champaign County Democrats, who gave him a margin of 5,116 votes to 1,365 votes for Goetten. Champaign County voters, who are familiar with Gill from his three previous races against Johnson, gave Gill more than one-third of all of his votes Tuesday.
Gill's campaign had hoped for 72 percent of the votes in Champaign County; he got 75.78 percent.
Gill also won by a large margin in McLean County, 805 to 265.
But Goetten won in Macon County, 2,678 to 2,632, and in Sangamon County, 1,903 to 1,582.