Preliminary vote shows Abdelnasser Rashid unseats incumbent Mike Zalewski
By Ray Hanania
Abdelnasser Rashid, a Democrat who proved his strength when he nearly unseated Republican Cook County board member Sean Morrison in 2018 by almost 1,400 votes, is the unofficial winner in a battle for the Illinois House of Representatives in the 21st District on Tuesday June 28, 2022 defeating incumbent Michael Zalewski.
Rashid ran a strong campaign reaching out to mayors and elected officials in Zalewski’s district smartly telling them he understood they would support the incumbent, Zalewski, but promising to work with them once in office.
Zalewski, however, apparently lost the district because he didn’t take Rashid’s candidacy seriously. Zalewski only launched his campaign five weeks before the June 28, 2022 election. In comparison, Rashid was on the street campaigning more than four months before the election building relations with voters by knocking on voter doors throughout.
Abdelnasser Rashid’s bio explains, Rashid “is a Democrat running for State Representative because working families deserve ethical representation.”
The Cook County Clerk’s Election tabulations showed Rashid leading by 521 votes with only one precinct outstanding, meaning that Zalewski does not have enough votes to overtake Rashid even if he won every remaining vote in that last precinct. The district has 60 precincts.
The 21st District includes parts of each of the following:
Chicago (part of 23rd &14th Wards)
La Grange Park
His campaign website defined his mission:
As State Representative, Abdelnasser will put people, families and communities first, not corporate special interests. He will fight to root out corruption, fund public education, and work to fix the broken property tax system that punishes working families while giving huge corporations major tax cuts.
His family’s story drives him to fight for our families. 55 years ago, Abdelnasser’s parents moved to America from a rural Palestinian village where educational opportunities were scarce, especially for women. They were among the first in their village to send their daughters to college. Abdelnasser grew up helping his mother run a booth at the local flea market and his father operate a small retail business in Chicago. He went on to receive his degree from Harvard University.
After graduating, Abdelnasser came back home and joined the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, fighting for immigration reform in Illinois and across the country. He was the field director for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s mayoral campaign, and served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Cook County Clerk David Orr.
Abdelnasser recently led a successful effort to help senior citizens save time and money by passing legislation to automatically renew the senior exemption, instead of forcing seniors to apply for the exemption each year. Abdelnasser is committed to bringing common sense leadership to Springfield.
Abdelnasser is married and has three children.
Representative Mike Zalewski has served in the General Assembly since 2008. During his ten years in the legislature, Mike has authored and led passage of a number of important laws, including Illinois’ first Racketeering statute, comprehensive ride-share law, the creation of an Independent Tax Tribunal, and a rewritten EDGE tax credit to lure more businesses to the State of Illinois. He has also lead Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Health Care Licenses, and Revenue & Finance Committees as Chairperson.
Mike’s an attorney by trade, practicing law at the firm of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister, LLP and lives in west suburban Riverside with his wife Carrie, and their four children, Reese, Henry, Ellamae, and Cecilia.
Zalewski graciously conceded to Rashid in a telephone call Tuesday night.
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