CHICAGO -- Democratic Rep. Paul Simon edged Sen. Charles Percy in a rancorous Senate race Wednesday, with President Reagan's considerable coattails failing to save the three-term Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman.
In a key congressional race, state Sen. Terry Bruce defeated Republican Rep. Daniel Crane in the central Illinois 19th District.
Crane had fought to save his political career after being censured by House colleagues last year for having sex with a female page.
Simon aides said Reagan, who easily garnered Illinois' 24 electoral votes in his landslide victory over Walter Mondale, was a 'life preserver' that kept Percy afloat as long possible.
In the Senate race -- with 9,917 of 11,632, or 85 percent, of the precincts reporting -- Simon led with 2,017,411 votes or 51 percent, and Percy totaled 1,892,262 votes or 48 percent.
With 84 percent of the precincts reporting, Reagan held a 56-44 percent margin over Mondale. Illinois was seen as one of six states in which Mondale held an outside chance of upsetting the president.
Percy, 65, apparently fell victim to ballot splitting in suburban Cook County, where 100,000 fewer people voted for him than Reagan. Percy failed to gain support from blacks and moderates -- support he held in previous elections.
The battle took on increased meaning after Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., won re-election. Helms, the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could succeed Percy as chairman.
Neither Percy or Simon, 55, a five-term congressman from southern Illinois, claimed victory.
Reagan's coattails failed in western Illinois' 17th District. Rep. Lane Evans, a Rock Island Democrat, scored a surprisingly easy victory over former state Sen. Ken McMillan, a conservative Republican and his 1982 challenger.