DECATUR — Fourteen county chairmen chose Rodney Davis as the Republican nominee for the 13th Congressional District.
Davis, 42, serves as an aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, a job he has held for 16 years. He fills a ballot position vacated when U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, announced he would not seek a seventh term after he had already won the primary election March 20.
Davis will face David Gill, a Bloomington physician, in the Nov. 6 election.
Other finalists for the nomination included Jerry Clarke, who is Johnson’s former chief of staff and has 27 years of military experience; Erika Harold, a Chicago attorney and 2003 Miss America who is originally from Central Illinois; and Kathy Wassink, an occupational therapist whose business, Therakids, contracts with school districts to provide occupational and speech therapy.
“As I traveled throughout the district during the selection process, voters told me that they wanted a common-sense, fiscally conservative Representative in Washington to help restore the economy, create jobs and cut wasteful, out-of-control spending,” Davis said in a prepared statement. “Should the voters of the 13th District elect me in November, that is exactly what I will be.”
Gill said he was glad his opponent has been chosen. He has not met Davis but described him as a “Washington insider, which I think makes him part of the problem.”
Further, Gill reiterated his promise not to take money from political action committees for large corporations, and publicly invited Davis to do the same.
In response to Gill’s characterization of him, Davis would only say he looked forward to debating his opponent on the issues.
Macon County Chairman Bruce Pillsbury would not reveal which candidate he voted for but said all the chairmen now stand behind Davis.
“He has done an excellent job of representing the state party over the years,” Pillsbury said. “He’s well-versed with the issues that we’re concerned with here in the state and our 13th Congressional District and very familiar with working with and around Washington also.”
McLean County Chairman John Parrott said he voted for Harold. But he said going forward, the party is united and he looks forward to having Davis meet McLean County voters.
Parrott praised the nomination process, which included opportunities for voters around the district to meet with all four candidates.
“This was as open, as fair of a process as I’ve ever been in,” he said. “I think most of them have been very fair, but this has been the most open process that I’ve ever seen.”
Davis is a graduate of Millikin University. He and his wife, Shannon, are from Taylorville. They have three children.