NORMAL — A University High School teacher who left the race for Congress last month now is seeking state office.

Benjamin Webb, a Democrat and English teacher from Normal, is running to oppose state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, in 2018, he said Wednesday.

“The status quo isn’t good enough. Social services, infrastructure and local government have not been able to rely on the stability of Springfield. We need an advocate who will carry the concerns of our district to the Capitol,” said Webb in a news release.

"Education is one of the greatest investments a society can make. Our future is brightest when we invest in our people through education. We cannot afford to have a government that has forgotten this."

Webb spent the last few months campaigning against U.S. Rep Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, and did not specify why he left that race. Several other challengers have emerged for the Democratic congressional nod, but Webb is the first challenger to Brady for the November general election.

David Paul Blumenshine, a Republican and a Normal real estate agent, plans to oppose Brady in the March primary election.

Brady, who has represented the Twin Cities in Springfield since 2001, has not been challenged in an election since 2006. He announced his candidacy for 2018 in September.

Brady served as McLean County coroner from 1992 to 2000. He is a partner in the Kibler-Brady-Ruestmann Memorial Home in Bloomington.

Brady was the first Twin City state legislator to announce a run in 2018. State Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, will retire, and Keith Sommer, R-Morton, has not announced whether he'll seek re-election.

Three Republicans and a Democrat, none local, have announced runs for Mitchell's seat. Bloomington Democrat Jill Blair and Bloomington Libertarian Chris Howick are running for Sommer's seat.

Seats held by state Sens. Bill Brady and Jason Barickman, both Bloomington Republicans, also will be on the ballot in 2018, but they have not announced re-election runs. Bill Brady and Dan Brady are not related.

Follow Derek Beigh on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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