Eric Sorensen defeated five other candidates in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Based on unofficial returns, Sorensen received 38% of the vote, while Litesa Wallace came in second with 23%. Incumbent Rep. Cheri Bustos (D) did not run for re-election.
Sorensen, Wallace, Jonathan Logemann, and Angie Normoyle led in fundraising ahead of the primary.
Sorensen, a TV meteorologist in the Quad Cities area, focused on climate change, saying, “Now is the time to act, and we need an experienced climate communicator to lead.” Sorensen also focused on LGBTQ issues and spoke about experiencing discrimination early in his career. Sorensen said, “[At my first TV job], I was told that I couldn’t be gay and work there. My experiences in Rockford and the Quad Cities were quite different — I was able to be out on TV! And in the Quad Cities, I took a more active role in our LGBTQ community.”
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, Equality PAC, and Climate Hawks Vote endorsed Sorensen.
Wallace represented the 67th District in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2014 to 2019. A single mother and a mental health counselor, Wallace focused on childcare issues. Wallace said, “When I get to Congress, I will fight hard to expand affordable childcare programs for parents who are working lower-wage jobs or who are in school or training programs.” In 2018, Wallace ran in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor of Illinois on the ticket of gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss (D), losing the primary 45.1% to 26.7% to J.B. Pritzker and Juliana Stratton.
Our Revolution, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Democracy for America, and the Illinois chapter of the SEIU endorsed Wallace.
Logemann, a member of the Rockford City Council, focused on his background as a teacher and a member of the National Guard, saying, “Service to community is something that’s very important to me.” Logemann also highlighted labor issues, saying, “I am running to raise wages, fight for workplace protections, defend the right to collectively bargain, and ensure our workers are treated fairly.”
Illinois AFL-CIO, the Illinois Education Association, VoteVets PAC, and the Chicago Tribune endorsed Logemann.
Normoyle, a member of the Rock Island County board and a professor at Augustana College, said education was a top issue. Normoyle highlighted her work serving on the Moline school board, saying, “During my time on the School Board, we modernized the Moline School District, expanding schools to provide space for alternative learning, art, extracurriculars, and more.” Normoyle also focused on her ties to the district, saying, “We need more representatives who lead with a local approach – who meet with community leaders, hold open meetings, and listen to community members, not special interests.”
The Leadership Now Project endorsed Normoyle.
The lines of the 17th District changed after re-districting. According to FiveThirtyEight, the old district had a partisan lean of R+5, while the new district has a partisan lean of D+4. One election forecaster rated the general election Tilt Democratic, while two rated it a Toss-up, suggesting it will be competitive.
Jacqueline McGowan and Marsha Williams also ran in the primary.