CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — The election battle in Illinois is heating up.

Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) are here in the Prairie State to drum up support for their parties’ candidates.

The President is scheduled to be at a political reception in Chicago Friday evening to gin up support for Chicago area Congressional candidates.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, which is a Super PAC that’s aligned with the GOP House Leadership, announced a nearly $2 million ad buy targeting Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL).

While reports circulated that Rep. Casten would be rallying with the President, his campaign told WMBD that is not the case.

WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy Friday afternoon in an exclusive interview. Rep. McCarthy was at Destihl in Normal, campaigning with Esther Joy King, Republican nominee for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.

“You’re here for the 17th District. Talk about the importance of this race specifically. Some saying it’s top 5 for US races for the House this fall,” Sheehan said.

“Some keep it #5, I call it #1. To have somebody with Esther’s qualities, character. Serving in the Army, risking her lives for others. She knows what it takes to turn this nation around. What’s very important, this is middle America. This is what makes America work. This is what we see in Washington,” McCarthy said.

“Talk about the future of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republicans could take back the House, is that what you’re looking for?” Sheehan asked.

“I’m looking for that and I think Illinois is gonna be a very good State for us. This is gonna be the first big pickup we have with Esther. That’ll help put is in the majority. On our very first day, we are gonna repeal the 87,000 IRS agents. I think government should be there to help you, not go after you,” McCarthy said.

WMBD’s Matt Sheehan also spoke with Democratic nominee Eric Sorensen. The former meteorologist tells Sheehan his race is neck-in-neck with King, and every vote counts.

“Choice is on the ballot. More people I talk to than ever before, are understanding that they have a say in the process. By us going to the polls and making the right decisions, we’re able to stand up for the rights we hold near and dear, but stand up for democracy too,” Sorensen said.

Sorensen spoke out against the House Minority Leader coming to the Prairie State.

“As my opponent brings in a politician from California, we don’t need a California politician to come here to central Illinois and tell us what we need to succeed. Here in central Illinois, we’ve got a pride for our way of life and pride for our hard work,” Sorensen said.

Sheehan also spoke with Esther Joy King at the event in Normal. She said this weekend is crunch time to prepare for Election Day.

“This is one of the most competitive races in the entire Country. What that means for us, the voters, is our voices matter. Every single one of us can make a difference in this election,” King said. “We can determine the direction of the United States of America.”

King said it was an honor to host Minority Leader McCarthy in central Illinois.

“We have so much momentum in this race. For Leader Kevin McCarthy to come here to central Illinois is a significant indication of how we play a role in the direction of our future,” King said.

King said if elected, she will be focused on passing a strong farm bill to benefit farmers in central Illinois.

“We are championing a strong economy and safe communities,” King said.

Sorensen said if elected, he will fight for reproductive rights are a priority for him this election.

“Women’s reproductive care is healthcare, that’s something that I will fight for,” Sorensen said.

Both King and Sorensen are campaigning all across central Illinois this weekend.

Sorensen will be in Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, and Galesburg. Sunday, he will be canvassing alongside State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) and State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), launching at the Peoria County Democratic Party’s HQ.

King will be in Knoxville, Canton, Pekin and Kewanee on Sunday. Both candidates hitting the campaign trail in multiple different counties before Election Day on Tuesday.

President Biden will be in Joliet, Illinois on Saturday morning. The President will deliver remarks on lowering prescription drug costs and protecting Social Security and Medicare.