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Miller and Davis will square off in race for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District

U.S. Representatives Mary Miller, R-Coles County and Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.
Mary Miller via YouTube screenshot
Belleville News-Democrat
U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, of Coles County, Illinois, will face off against fellow Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, of Taylorville, to represent Illinois’ 15th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Metro East.

Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller on Saturday ended suspense over her 2022 plans by announcing a run for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District.

The move sets Miller, who possesses an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, against fellow GOP Congressman Rodney Davis.

Illinois Democrats who controlled the recent redistricting process placed Davis in a horseshoe-shaped 15th District that stretches across wide swaths of south-central Illinois. They drew Miller’s Coles County residence into a district in southern Illinois where Congressman Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, also lives.

Shortly after Trump announced on Saturday that he would endorse Miller’s reelection, Miller declared in a web video that she would run in the 15th District.

“President Trump inspired me to run in 2020, because our country needed principled conservatives in Congress who would always put America first,” Miller said. “We need those principles now more than ever.”

Miller would have likely faced stiff competition in a run against Bost, who has held elected office since the 1990s and whose congressional career tracked with many of Trump’s policy priorities. Bost also proved adept at tough campaigns, defeating incumbent Democratic Congressman Bill Enyart in 2014 and a well-funded Democratic challenger in Brendan Kelly in 2018.

Davis announced late last year he would run for reelection in Congress and has received endorsements from scores of elected officials — including Bost, Congressman Darin LaHood and former Congressman John Shimkus. Like Bost, Davis has won difficult elections throughout the 2010s against Democratic challengers — and beat back a tough GOP primary in 2014 against Erika Harold.

“Republicans are primed to retake the House next year, and I’m ready to work with a new Republican majority to finally fire Nancy Pelosi and hold the Biden Administration accountable for their massive failures,” Davis said in a statement announcing his reelection. “I look forward to campaigning hard and earning every vote in this district over the next year.”

But this primary against Miller may be far different from Davis’ other races. Since the 15th District is overwhelmingly Republican, GOP primary voters who have been loyal to Trump may see the former president’s endorsement as a reason to vote for Miller.

Davis voted in the House to sustain President Joe Biden’s Electoral College wins in Pennsylvania and Arizona. Miller voted to overturn Biden’s victories in those states.

Miller was elected to succeed Shimkus in 2020. She provoked controversy last year when she invoked Adolph Hitler in a speech before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Miller later apologized for those remarks. Davis' campaign referenced that incident in a statement that accused Miller of being "all talk and no action."

"Our campaign looks forward to educating voters on how Rodney is an effective conservative member of Congress and Mary is not," said Davis campaign manager Aaron DeGroot in a statement.

Illinois’ primary will take place on June 28.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

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