A Republican House candidate prematurely claimed victory in a race to unseat Democratic congresswoman Lauren Underwood, and then went to new member orientation even after she was declared the winner

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Jim Oberweis
Jim Oberweis, R-Ill., 2020 challenger to Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., leaves the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill for the first day of new member orientation in the Capitol on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • Jim Oberweis, the Republican challenger for a House seat in Illinois prematurely declared himself the winner against the Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood last week.

  • Underwood was declared the winner of the race on Thursday.

  • Despite this, Oberweis attended a House new member orientation on Friday.

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The Republican challenger to Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood prematurely claimed victory in the race for her House seat and attended the first day of new member orientation, even after Underwood was declared the winner.

Post by Jim Oberweis.

Insider and Decision Desk HQ called Underwood the winner last week in her bid against Jim Oberweis, and in a close race, the Associated Press called her the winner on Thursday.

Oberweis declared victory last Wednesday when votes were still being counted.

Underwood's campaign never conceded and criticized Oberweis for making a premature call.

"Jim Oberweis doesn't get to call this election: the voters do. There are thousands of votes that have yet to be counted. We appreciate every voter who made their voice heard, and our county clerks and election officials must count every ballot in as expeditious and transparent a manner as is possible," Underwood's campaign said in a statement.

"Based on publicly available data, we remain confident that once ballots are counted, this race will reflect that the voters have reelected Congresswoman Lauren Underwood."

Neither Oberweis' campaign nor Underwood's office immediately replied to Business Insider's request for comment.

On Thursday, the day before the new member orientation, Underwood, a registered nurse who worked on healthcare policy for the Obama administration and who is the youngest Black woman to serve in Congress when she was first elected, officially declared victory in the race.

"I'm so honored to continue to represent our community's values in Congress. Thank you for all of your support," she said.

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