Republican Sen. Christine Radogno of Lemont survived a challenge Wednesday night and will continue as Senate GOP leader for two more years.
Senate Republicans lost five seats in this month's election, dropping their numbers to 19, compared to 40 Democrats, when the new General Assembly takes office in January.
Sen. Kyle McCarter of Downstate Lebanon offered a conservative alternative to Radogno.
Senate Republicans met behind closed doors, and sources said on the first ballot, Radogno got 12 votes to six for McCarter. A lone vote went to Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, but Dillard was not a candidate for the leadership post. The senators then voted for Radogno by acclamation, several lawmakers said.
Radogno emerged from the closed-door meeting, saying "it was a challenging process, but it was a good one."
"We need to pull together after that process," Radogno said.
Radogno became the first woman elected as one of the four legislative leaders in the two chambers in 2008. She followed former Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, R-Greenville, who stepped down following a stroke. Radogno, 59, started in the Senate in 1997.
Radogno’s leadership was the only one of the so-called four tops who faced a challenge. House Republican leader Tom Cross, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton will continue in their roles.
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