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Trump-backed Miller defeats veteran Davis in Illinois' 15th Congressional District

Illinois U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (R-Oakland) speaks next to former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Miller for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District, on Saturday, June 25, 2022, during a “Save America!” Rally at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Miller defeated fellow Rep. Rodney Davis in Tuesday’s Republican primary election for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District, which includes a portion of the Metro East.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Miller is the GOP nominee in November’s general election in Illinois’ 15th Congressional District after knocking off fellow Rep. Rodney Davis in Tuesday’s primary.

Miller beat her colleague in Congress in a blowout, with nearly 58% of the vote when Davis conceded. Her primary victory all but guarantees she will represent the district, which includes the Metro East, in the next Congress because it’s overwhelmingly Republican.

“I’d like to congratulate Congresswoman Miller and President Trump on their victory tonight," Davis said. “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."

Miller could not immediately be reached for comment.

Voters take to the polls on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, during the 2022 Primary Election at the Fairmont City Community Center in Fairmont City.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Primary voters took to the polls on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s primary pitted Miller and her endorsement from former President Donald Trump against Davis’ decade of experience as a congressman. Miller touted this support, using it as the key differentiator between her record and Davis.’

She excoriated him for not being conservative enough in a district that overwhelmingly supported Trump in the 2020 general election.

“If Rodney Davis had gotten his way, we would have had crooked Hillary Clinton in the White House,” Miller said at a rally featuring Trump last weekend. “And we would have had the most leftist Supreme Court in history.”

With Trump on the stage at the rally, Miller also said, “On behalf of all the MAGA patriots of America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday.”

That comment went viral on social media, with people accusing her of racism, and was widely covered nationally in the news media. Miller campaign spokesman Isiah Wartman said she meant to say “right to life.”

Breaking down Illinois’ primary election results

It wasn't the first time Miller generated outrage in a speech. She made a remark in a 2021 speech that seemed to praise Adolf Hitler. She eventually apologized for that comment.

Some Illinois Republicans lament Miller’s focus on criticizing Davis’ Republican credentials in a state where Democrats hold the governorship and supermajorities in both state houses.

“If we chop ourselves up like that in Illinois, we won't ever gain the governorship back,” said state Sen. Jil Tracy, R-Quincy. “We can’t have a purity litmus test on who’s more Republican than the other.”

Miller likely will hold onto the seat she first won in 2020 after John Shimkus retired. Miller and Davis faced each other because of congressional redistricting passed by the Democratically controlled state legislature.

Eric Schmid covers economic development for St. Louis Public Radio. He previously covered the Metro East.

Eric Schmid covers business and economic development for St. Louis Public Radio.