Melissa Bean scored one of the biggest upsets in the nation on Nov. 2 when she unseated Phil Crane from his 8th Congressional District post in the United States House of Representatives.
The 8th Congressional District includes three different counties. In Lake County, Bean squeezed by with less than 2,000 votes and her victory in McHenry County was razor thin. It was Cook that put her over the top with 56 percent of the vote to Crane's near 44 percent.
Over the years, Crane was losing the stranglehold he had on the area, thanks partially to the lack of enthusiasm he had for the residents. The Chicago Tribune endorsed Bean, writing, 'It has become evident that Crane's interest in serving his constituents has evaporated.'
Bean's major criticism of Crane was that he had grown complacent and had failed to change with the times and stand up for the district. She cited as prime examples his voting to cut student loans and supporting privatization of Social Security. Crane fought back, calling his opponent out about not living in the district, claiming Bean would raise taxes if elected, and saying she flip-flopped in support of the Bush tax plan.
Brett Smiley, Bean's campaign manager, told Windy City Times that her team 'outworked her opponent for a year. She was out working hard for three years against an incumbent who didn't know how to run a hard race—and she's going to keep that same work ethic when she goes to Washington.' Smiley went on to say that the election results showed that voters 'identified more strongly with Bean because they also have young families and have to work.'
Smiley was a 2003 Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree for his work in the GLBT community.