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.

Total support

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.

(10) comments

catlin64
catlin64

Tomorrow's headline. Rodney Davis announces retirement just to mess with David Gill.

not-so-political
not-so-political

I will still take Gill. Having talked to him in the ER I feel we can all count on him and trust him. A small business family man will do us a lot better than a live time life long politition type.

GATXER
GATXER

Weird......after talking with Dr. Gill twice I came to the mind set that he has no idea what he would be doing. Dont get me wrong he seems a nice guy......kinda like Carter....but he would IMHO be so far over his head it would be a nightmare.......hes lost so many times for a reason.

It going to be a weird ballot for me.....Obama and Davis.......I listened to some of these people on the radio....why they picked Davis is a unknown to me.

SarahP935
SarahP935

Strike one for Davis...he's attached to Shimkus...strike two...he's attached to Shimkus...strike three...he's attached to...

SarahP935
SarahP935

Before anybody tries to explain Shimkus away...he's a Flat Earth Society guy who is to the right of Rush Limbaugh on everything and ergo an aide for 18 years is just a mini-Shimki.

MRK
MRK

Wow, shocking move on the GOP's part - they're really going to shake things up with a white, male, 16 year Washington insider. That's going to change the current political climate...for the better....yeah....

RUTROH
RUTROH

Very disappointed in the selection. I was hoping for someone fresh and new. I think Erika Howard would have been a great choice.

Benjamin the Donkey
Benjamin the Donkey

Wow, what a surprise from Dr. Gill. I'm sure he had his negative comments set for any of the four. Insiders, inexperienced beauty queen/carpetbagger, tea party radical. Wouldn't it have been refreshing if he would of responded like Rodney Davis....That he looks forward to debating his opponent on the issues.
Give Rodney a chance, I've known him for more than a few years and have had the opportunity to work with him on more than one occasion. Rodney knows Washington, but I wouldn't call him an insider. His national experience is more a testament to his ability to get things done than being a insider. He's grounded in local issues, but also has a unique insight for the legislative & political side.
I'm glad they chose Rodney Davis, you'll have a strong voice in Congress that will represent you. He'll be hard-nosed on some issues, but isn't that what we need? He won't be a rubber stamp, I've seen him take on Republicans if they were on the wrong side of an issue. Learn some more about him before you shoot too many arrows.

THX 101
THX 101

Erika Howard was the smart choice..and an empowering and inspirational choice. What a shame these provincial county chairmen could not see the big picture. GOP insider politics never ceases to amaze me with its lack of vision and stategy.

murry44
murry44

HOW MANY OF YOU PEOPLE WENT TO EVEN ONE OF THE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC MEETINGS? ITS HAROLD NOT HOWARD.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.