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State Sen. Koehler fends off Anderson in 46th District race

Democratic State Sen. Dave Koehler, left, and Republican challenger Desi Anderson
Joe Deacon
Democratic State Sen. Dave Koehler, left, appears to have defeated Republican challenger Desi Anderson in the 46th District election.

Peoria Democrat Dave Koehler has won a sixth term in the Illinois State Senate.

Preliminary election results show Koehler getting close to 58% of the vote in his 46th District race against Republican first-time candidate Desi Anderson of Carlock.

“It's always humbling when you win an election, and I just always feel so fortunate,” said Koehler. “It’s a privilege, really, to be able to represent the 46th district; I enjoy the work I do. I think that my staff, we try to prioritize constituent service and I think we do that very well. So it's just always very pleasing and very humbling.”

Koehler, the assistant majority leader, has held the seat since 2006, while Anderson was seeking elected office for the first time. Both ran unopposed in the June primary, and both received a little more than 11,000 votes.

The Anderson campaign issued a statement Wednesday morning, saying she has conceded the race to Koehler.

“Unfortunately, our campaign came up short of what we needed to win in the 46th district,” Anderson said in the news release. “I congratulate Senator Koehler for winning another term to the General Assembly. I wish him the best in the Illinois State Senate.

“Although my family and my team are met with disappointment and sadness, I am still optimistic that we can change Illinois for the better in the future. My defeat last night does not mean I will stop fighting for what is right for our families and our communities.”

The redrawn district has added Bloomington-Normal to Koehler’s territory, as well as portions of Tazewell and Woodford counties along Interstate 74 – a notable change from the constituency that elected Koehler with almost 54% of the vote in 2020.

“I think it really shows me that there's a lot of strength in central Illinois, if we can really get more collaboration,” said Koehler. “I'd like to see kind of an I-74 collaborative effort go on so that we can bring in Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, even Champaign and start to do more development work together and just kind of create synergy for central Illinois.”

Koehler says he’s eager to put the campaign season in the past and get back to helping guide state policy.

“I think we need to look at some of the issues that are really plaguing our state and our communities. We've got high inflation, we've got the economy, which is hurting a lot of families, high utility bills. We've got issues on crime we've got to resolve,” said Koehler, adding that building strong relationships is key to serving in the General Assembly.

“It's about the people you meet and how you treat one another (and) the fact that you care about people and you try to do your best every day. I think that's what matters. People may not always agree with you on every issue, but at least I want them to understand that I believe in what I do. Am I always right? No, I'm not always right. But I believe in what I do, and I always try to do the best.”

Updated: November 9, 2022 at 11:45 AM CST
Desi Anderson's campaign released a statement Wednesday morning, officially conceding the race to Koehler.
Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.