Melissa Luburic Bean (born on January 22, 1962) is an American politician of Serbian descent who was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004. Bean graduated from Roosevelt University and is a Democrat, representing Illinois' 8th Congressional district in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago (map). She lives in Barrington with her husband and two children. She is president of a major consulting firm.
In 2002, Bean ran against 33-year 8th District Republican incumbent Phil Crane. She lost, but gained 43% of the vote—a stunning total since she received almost no funding from the national party. The 8th had long been considered the most Republican district in the Chicago area, and according to some in all of Illinois. Bean's performance was even more stunning since the 8th had reportedly been redrawn to protect Crane. Several former Republican primary opponents and Democratic general election opponents had their homes drawn into the neighboring 10th District..
In the 2004 campaign cycle, Bean raised almost as much money as Crane, mostly from individual donors, as opposed to Crane, most of whose money came from political action committees. Her surprising performance in the previous election led the national party to pump a large amount of money into her campaign. Faced with having to actually campaign for what was previously thought to be a safe seat, the Republicans tried their best to keep Crane in office. However, on November 2, 2004, Bean defeated Crane with 52% of the vote. She is the first Democrat to represent the district since its formation in 1935 (it was numbered the 10th District from 1935-49, the 13th from 1949-73, the 12th from 1973-93 and the 8th since 1993).
Bean is a moderate Democrat, and as such her seat has been targeted by Republicans as vulnerable to takeover due to her freshman status and the 8th district's heavy Republican backing in national elections. George W. Bush won this same Illinois district in the 2004 presidential election by 56%.
Melissa Bean has been targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a top priority for reelection. She will face Republican nominee David McSweeney, in the 2006 general election. Despite the partisanship that pervades much of the country on a national level, and the long-time Republican representation, residents in the 8th district frown upon partisanship and seek reasonable approaches to government. Bean often touts her independent streak to constituents.