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Bassi loses to Morrison in 54th House District GOP primary
By Kim Pohl | Daily Herald Staff

Suzanne Bassi


Thomas Morrison


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Published: 2/2/2010 8:13 PM | Updated: 2/2/2010 11:30 PM

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Small business owner Tom Morrison said throughout his campaign that voters are demanding new, tougher leadership.

Morrison's sentiment proved correct, with the 34-year-old political novice pulling off a huge upset over six-term incumbent state Rep. Suzie Bassi in the 54th House District Republican primary.

"This victory is about fresh ideas and a revitalized energy," Morrison said Tuesday night. "We had the right message at the right time with the right candidate."

With 79 of 81 precincts reporting, Morrison received 5,303 votes, or 54 percent, compared to 4,452 votes, or 46 percent, for Bassi, according to unofficial totals.

The owner of two ServPro disaster cleanup franchises will face Democrat Matt Flamm in the November general election. The winner will serve a two-year term.

Morrison, who gained name recognition by knocking on about 83 percent of registered Republican's doors, took a harder line on taxes than his opponent, vowing he'd never vote for an increase. Bassi only ruled out raising taxes during a recession.

Morrison has proposed eliminating the entire Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and its nearly $1 billion budget, an agency Bassi believes is crucial to bringing business to the state.

The candidates shared similar views on many of the state's most pressing issues, but differed on gambling and abortion rights.

Morrison opposes any gambling expansion and is a staunch abortion opponent. Bassi said she's against video gambling but would consider slots at Arlington Park, which is in the 54th District. She supported abortion rights.

Such differences forced Bassi to defend herself as a Republican and landed Morrison the official endorsement from the conservative Palatine Township Republican organization - not the first time it has endorsed a Bassi opponent.

Bassi couldn't be reached for comment.

The 54th District includes all or parts of Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Inverness, Hoffman Estates, Barrington and South Barrington.