Almost six hours after supporters and campaign volunteers started to gather at Bob Dold's campaign headquarters in Winnetka, Dold made his first public appearance as one of the newest members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Dold, a Republican, will fill the seat vacated by Mark Kirk, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in a race against Alexi Giannoulias.
Sitting through a tight race all day, Dold was unable to have a talk with his opponent, Dan Seals, before he gave his victory speech.
"I certainly would liked to have had a conversation with Dan [Seals]," Dold said. "I take my hat off to him."
Seals didn't take the stage at his campaign's election night event in Deerfield until well after midnight, but most of his supporters stayed late to welcome their candidate and hear his closing remarks.
"Folks who have been working hard and playing by the rules are still coming up short," Seals said. "We need leaders that are, frankly, going to move our country forward, rather than take it back to the policies we just left."
Seals thanked the crowd for their unwavering support and belief in him.
"We're going to sleep on it, see what we see in the morning, and keep on pushing regardless," said Seals who was in his third run for the seat.
Seals changed course Wednesday and finally conceded.
"As you may know, we were not prepared to concede this race last night because while we knew it was not probable, it was also not impossible to win," said Seals, in an emailed statement Wednesday. "After this long journey, I wanted to make certain that every vote was counted. Now that we have more information, it has become clear that we were not victorious.
"I'd also like to congratulate Bob Dold, who I know will work hard to represent the 10th District well. While I will not be serving as congressman, I will continue serving our community for years to come and fighting for those who need our help."
Dold said he and his team were "cautiously optimistic throughout the day," but never took anything for granted. In his victory speech, Dold spoke about carrying the underdog mentality.
"It was always about running the campaign as if we were five points down," Dold said. "Making sure we got out there and making the extra phone calls and knocking on the extra doors."
In his new office as representative of Ilinois' 10th CD, Dold will spend extended periods of time in Washington, D.C. But he assured all of his supporters and his family that he won't forget the people who put him there.
"I'm going to miss my family the most during the times I'm in Washington," he said. "We're not moving. This is home. It always has been home and it always will be home."
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Kit Fox and Rachelle Blidner contributed reporting.