Despite trailing, Illinois Dem 'encouraged' by vote trends

Illinois Rep. Melissa Bean (D) said her race remains "too close to call" because there are still some 1,500 ballots outstanding.

Bean trails her Republican challenger, Joe Walsh, by 347 votes. She expects the final tally of absentee and provisional ballots will be completed next Tuesday.

"The trends show the gap closing," she said, noting that 70 percent of the absentee ballots cast went for her.

What's deceptive about that number, however, is that only the heavily Democratic Cook County has started counting its absentee and provisional ballots. McHenry and Lake counties, which favored Walsh, won't count their outstanding ballots until Nov. 16.

"We're just waiting for them to finish their work," Bean said on a conference call with reporters Friday.

The three-term Democrat refused to say she was "optimistic" about the outcome of the final count. "I'm just waiting, patiently, for them to do their work, so we can see what the results are," she said. "We've been encouraged by the trends."

While Bean waits, Walsh plans to travel to Washington to attend the orientation session for freshmen GOP members.

Bean said there was nothing unusual about that. "That's common practice, so it's not surprising that he would attend," she said.

Bean herself on Monday is heading back to Washington. "We'll have to get their results while I'm in Washington."