SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson’s decision to abandon his bid for a seventh term touched off a scramble among Illinois Republicans looking to replace him on the general election ballot.
From a handful of state lawmakers to congressional aides, the wannabe congressmen were busy dialing up Republican party chairmen in the 14 counties that comprise the newly formed 13th Congressional District.
The chairmen will cast weighted votes to determine who will take on Democrat David Gill of Bloomington in November.
Among those putting their hat in the ring was Jerry Clarke, who formerly served as Johnson’s chief of staff. He’s a major in the Army Reserve who lives in Urbana and works for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield.
Clarke, 46, said he would announce his plans Monday.
“I think today is Tim’s day,” said Clarke, who also served as state Sen. Bill Brady’s campaign manager when the Bloomington Republican ran for governor.
Rodney Davis of Taylorville, projects coordinator for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville, also may be a contender.
Bill Brady said he’s not jumping in the race. But, his brother, Ed, a Bloomington real estate developer, was mulling whether to join the fray.
State lawmakers in the mix include state Sens. Kyle McCarter of Lebanon and Sam McCann of Carlinville and state Reps. Adam Brown of Decatur, Chapin Rose of Mahomet and Dan Brady of Bloomington.
“I am taking a look at it,” said McCarter, whose current district includes Decatur.
“I’m going to do my due diligence on this. I’m going to take a look at the numbers this weekend,” said Rose
Brown said he’s already called a number of county chairmen to gauge interest in his candidacy.
“I’ve said I’d keep my options open,” added Dan Brady.
State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, said he’s not seeking the appointment. But, he said he’s hoping a candidate from Macon County emerges as the winner. Under the new legislative maps, Macon County is wholly within the 13th district, which stretches from Champaign County to Madison County and includes all or parts of Bloomington, Springfield, Taylorville and Litchfield.
Tim Johnson’s statement on his retirement