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Miller drops out of Illinois congressional race

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 20, 2012 - Chris Miller, an Iraq war veteran running as a Democrat in Illinois’ 12th congressional district contest, announced Friday he was dropping out; he endorsed former St. Clair County Regional Superintendent Brad Harriman.

"This election is incredibly important, and I know that if Democrats work together we will be able to spread our message of job creation and economic growth for the middle class. That is why I am ending my congressional campaign and will support Brad Harriman," Miller said in a statement. "Brad isn't a party insider; he isn't a politician. He will go to Washington to fight for the hard-working people of the 12th congressional district. He will be the voice we need in Washington."

Harriman said in a statement that he hopes that “Chris will play an important role on our campaign going forward,” especially on issues of “defense and energy security.”

Miller had lagged behind Harriman in fundraising. According to Federal Election Commission documents, he had $15,294 compared to Harriman’s $161,350. Harriman has the endorsement of Jerry Costello, the Belleville Democrat who is retiring from Congress.

With Miller’s exit, Harriman’s only other opponent is Granite City resident Kenneth Wiezer who has not submitted any financial reports to the FEC.

Plummer leads GOP cash race

Meanwhile, Jason Plummer has the most cash to spend in the run up to Illinois’ March 20 primary.

Plummer – an O’Fallon resident who was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010 – has $126,332 after the last fundraising quarter. Former Belleville Mayor Rodger Cook has $19,960 and O’Fallon resident Theresa Kormos has $6,307. Teri Newman, the Republican nominee in 2010 against Costello, has yet to turn in fundraising numbers.

Republicans see Costello’s departure as an opportunity to gain a foothold in the traditionally Democratic 12th District. The district encompasses Metro East cities such as East St. Louis, Belleville and Granite City.

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.