MORTON — Democrat Jill Blair, a political newbie, gave 88th Illinois House District incumbent Republican Keith Sommer a challenge, but in the end she lost by 7,758 votes.

Blair was Sommer's first challenger in 10 years. The 20-year incumbent won 58.8 percent of the vote to Blair's 41.2 percent.

Multiple attempts to reach Sommer for comment were unsuccessful.

The 88th District includes most of Bloomington, as well as Washington and Morton, Sommer's hometown.

Two issues inspired Blair, 41, to run to take on Sommer — the Illinois budget crisis and results of the 2016 presidential election. In June, she quit her job as a communications analyst with Country Financial to concentrate on campaigning.

Sommer, 72, took pride in things he was able to do for his constituents over the last 20 years. Most recently he introduced House Bill 4369, which requires the Illinois State Board of Education to develop a dyslexia guidance handbook.

Sommer’s goals for his next two years in office would be to make Illinois a business-friendly destination state, to provide a budget based on job growth and to guarantee educational opportunities for students through treatment of all disabilities. He agrees that pension reform is necessary and would consider a 401(k) system for new hires and explore employee or retiree lump sum buyouts to reduce long-term benefit cost. A re-amortization of the debt is also necessary, he said.