By LINDSAY WELBERS
House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie sailed uncontested to her 19th term as Hyde Park’s representative in the 25th District Tuesday night.
The 2014 primary was less stressful than her first election in 1978. In Currie’s first primary, she ran in a 10-candidate race that included an alderman and an incumbent for two positions in the general election.
Due to a 3,000 vote miscount she conceded defeat that night, a speech her brother Michael Flynn still calls the best of her career.
She took a previously scheduled trip with her family to the Bahamas immediately afterwards, which is where she learned she came in second and had a place on the general election ballot.
“It was interesting to have the experience of winning and losing in the same election cycle and I concluded that I much prefer winning,” Currie said.
On the day of her 19th election Flynn spent her time going to polling places and thanking workers with handshakes, candy and a reminder that “democracy wouldn’t function without you.”
She left the polling places briefly in the morning to drive her sister-in-law, in town for a family visit, to Midway. And she took a break in the middle of the day to join a conference call with other House leaders to set the agenda for the upcoming session.
Currie, who grew up with her three brothers and one sister at 54th Street and Blackstone Avenue, planned to spend election night having dinner with a friend at Piccolo Mondo, not a rowdy campaign headquarters.
Over her career thus far, she has helped to eliminate the death penalty in Illinois, achieve marriage equality and lead the committee that helped to impeach former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“That was a very tough job,” Currie said. “There wasn’t anyone in the group who took it casually.”
She said she personally would like to do more work improving public education in the state, creating more safeguards for children who have been abused or neglected and helping former inmates transition back into life outside prison.
Currie, now entering her 36th year in the House, said she intends to keep running “as long as the voters will have me.”
Currie will face write-in Republican candidate Juan Diaz in the Nov. 4 election.
As of Herald press time, with 82.02 percent of precincts reporting, Currie had received 5,633 votes — 100 percent of the votes cast.