Rick Laib said his "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-free market" message was key in winning the Republican nomination in the 11th Congressional District.
After defeating Naperville businessman Krishna Bansal with nearly 54% of the vote on Tuesday, Laib will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville.
Laib said while he and Bansal agreed on much, the key difference was likely what issues they prioritized.
"I don't think he had the same kind of priorities that I did," Laib said. "And I think people connected with that."
The nominee focused on his anti-abortion stance. He also advocated for smaller government in sectors like health care, which he said the government should "get out" of.
Laib also overcame a fundraising disadvantage in the primary. While he raised over $7,000, Bansal earned over $200,000, according to campaign filing records.
Laib said he "wasn't persuaded by money" and pointed to the failed presidential bid of billionaire Michael Bloomberg as evidence money didn't necessarily win elections. Still, he faces a further challenge with Foster's $3 million campaign fund.
Plus Foster has had a track record of winning general elections by wide margins, many times by double digits.
Laib said issues like Foster's vote to impeach President Donald Trump have angered voters in his district. Between that and impeachment, Laib thinks voters might be turning on the Democratic party.
"The party is moving further and further apart from a conservative view," he said.