Bean unseating GOP's Crane in Illinois
Youngblood projected to defeat old guard in 8th District
(CNN) -- Seventeen-term Republican Rep. Phil Crane will be defeated by Democrat Melissa Bean, CNN projects.
At 74, Crane began serving in his current seat in 1969, when then-Rep. Donald Rumsfeld resigned to take a position in the Nixon administration. Bean, 42, was only 7 at the time.
Crane is the vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade and is a member of the Subcommittee on Health.
The Chicago Tribune endorsed Bean, writing, "It has become evident that Crane's interest in serving his constituents has evaporated."
Bean's major criticism of Crane was that he had grown complacent and had failed to change with the times and stand up for the district. She cited as prime examples his voting to cut student loans, allowing exploratory oil drilling on Lake Michigan and supporting privatization of Social Security.
Crane fought back, calling his opponent out about not living in the district, claiming Bean would raise taxes if elected and saying she flip-flopped in support of the Bush tax plan.
While the area had been a long-time stronghold for Republicans, Democratic supporters believed that may be changing. The district, once primarily farmers, has undergone a boom and is more suburban, bringing in a more moderate base and eroding the conservative numbers who in the past have been loyal to Crane.
In the 1988 presidential race, George H.W. Bush won 61 percent of the vote there. In 2000, Al Gore carried the district with 51 percent of the vote.
According to the Cook Political Report, a poll of 400 voters taken by Bennett Petts and Blumenthal in early October put Crane only two percentage points ahead of Bean, 46 percent to 44, a statistical dead heat.