Rodney Davis concedes to Mary Miller in Illinois 15th congressional Republican primary

·4 min read

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis conceded in the race against U.S. Rep. Mary Miller in the 15th Congressional District, clearing the path for her to be reelected to Congress in November in a deeply Republican district.

The Associated Press projected Miller as the winner shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Miller, 62, gained the endorsement of former President Donald Trump while Davis, 52, pinned his reelection hopes on his reputation in Congress. Davis has served since 2013.

In previous elections, Davis twice triumphed over Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan in part by centering himself politically and touting his bipartisan record in a moderate district. Davis, who worked as a staffer for former Congressman John Shimkus before running for office, ranked 22nd most bipartisan among 435 members of the House in 2021, according to analysis by Georgetown University researchers.

But in an effort to consolidate Republican voters as much as possible and eliminate a GOP seat, Illinois Democrats drew a gerrymandered 15th District that is solidly red in comparison to Davis’ current district. Though she doesn’t live in the district, Miller decided her best bet to stay in Congress was to pit her hard-right freshman record and Trump’s endorsement against Davis’ moderate background.

Congressional candidates in Illinois do not have to live in the district they represent. They only have to live in the state, according to the state Constitution.

“I’d like to congratulate Congresswoman Miller and President Trump on their victory tonight. This was a hard-fought campaign, and I wish her the best in representing the citizens of the 15th District,” Davis said in an emailed statement. “It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Illinois. I’m proud of the work our team has done for our constituents since 2013.”

“I look forward to campaigning with very Republican up and down the ticket across Illinois between now and November to ensure we take back our state and take back Congress.”

The election results will not be official until certified by election authorities.

Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey of Xenia also won his primary. Bailey and Miller are political allies from eastern Illinois.

Davis was one of 82 House Republicans who voted to uphold 2020 presidential election results in January 2021. He has said he was fulfilling his constitutional duty under the 12th Amendment, which says Congress counts the Electoral College results the states send them. U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro and Miller were among the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the election.

Davis was present when a gunman from Belleville opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. Following the shooting, which critically wounded House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Davis called on Americans and lawmakers to bridge a growing partisan divide.

Davis is the top Republican on the Committee on House Administration, which oversees U.S. Capitol Police and monitors congressional elections.

The congressman was slated to become chairman of the committee if he had won reelection. He planned to launch an investigation into the House committee looking into the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In his place, U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia is expected to become chairman. Loudermilk led a visitors tour of the Capitol on Jan. 5, raising questions among members of the Jan. 6 committee about his intentions.

Miller was thrust into the national limelight when she cited Adolf Hitler at a rally in front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021. She raised questions about her views once again at a rally with Trump in Quincy last week. Miller said the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.”

Miller apologized for citing Hitler and a spokesperson said she meant to say the Roe decision was a victory for a “right to life.”

The Democratic candidate for the 15th District, Paul Lange of Quincy, went unopposed in the primary. If Miller is confirmed winner of the primary election, she will face Lange in the Nov. 8 General Election where the Republican nominee is likely to win.

All of or parts of 35 counties make up the new 15th District: Adams, Bond, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Coles, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Hancock, Henderson, Jersey, Logan, Macon, Madison, Mason, McDonough, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Piatt, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Vermilion and Warren counties.

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