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 UnderwoodThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wins by losing in the Supreme Court The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump takes on CDC over schools The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases 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 John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' 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 HultgrenRepublican challenging freshman Dem rep says he raised 0,000 in 6 days Illinois Dems offer bill to raise SALT deduction cap The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 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.”