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Republican challenging freshman Dem rep says he raised $150,000 in 6 days

Republican challenging freshman Dem rep says he raised $150,000 in 6 days
© Greg Nash

Republican Ted Gradel, who is challenging freshman Rep. Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodMcAuliffe holds wide lead in Virginia gubernatorial primary: poll HHS expands Medicaid postpartum coverage for Illinois mothers up to a year after giving birth Lauren Underwood endorses Jennifer Carroll Foy in Virginia governors race MORE (D-Ill.) for the Illinois House seat she flipped last year, has raised more than $150,000 in the six days since he announced his candidacy, his campaign said Tuesday.

The six-figure haul is the latest sign that Underwood is likely to face a tough reelection fight next year as she looks to hold on to a congressional district that flipped to Democrats in 2018 despite President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE’s nearly 4-point win there in 2016.

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Gradel, a former University of Notre Dame field goal kicker and first-time candidate for public office, announced his bid for the suburban and exurban Chicago district last week in a video narrated by former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz.

In declaring his candidacy, Gradel joined a growing field of Republicans targeting Underwood in 2020.

Among the other announced contenders are Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis, Danny Malouf and Anthony Catella.

"Sarah and I are humbled by the great support we’ve received in just the first few days, and I look forward to working hard to win this campaign and make a change in Washington,” Gradel said Tuesday. “I am especially grateful to the members of our finance committee for their support.”

Underwood, a former nurse who worked in the Obama administration, ousted former four-term Rep. Randy HultgrenRandall (Randy) Mark HultgrenRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Republican challenging freshman Dem rep says he raised 0,000 in 6 days Illinois Dems offer bill to raise SALT deduction cap MORE (R-Ill.) in last year’s midterms, scoring a win that helped power the Democratic “blue wave” that pushed the party into power in the lower chamber.

Republicans are eager to win the district back, hoping that two years of divided government in Washington and having Trump on the ballot will fuel GOP gains in districts that recently flipped.

Still, Underwood is likely to enter 2020 with a well-financed campaign of her own. She raised $342,000 in the first quarter of 2019, ending March with more than $250,000 in the bank, according to her most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission.

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently rates the race for Illinois’s 14th District as a “toss-up.”