District 13 candidates gearing up for Election Day

The race to fill outgoing Rep. Tim Johnson’s seat in the new 13th District will be over in nine weeks, and local candidates are gearing up for the final stretch of election season.

On Election Day, the district’s voters will see three candidates on their ballots: Democrat David Gill from Bloomington, Republican Rodney Davis from Taylorville, and independent candidate John Hartman from Edwardsville. The three candidates are competing to represent the district that stretches from Champaign County to as far west as the state border along the Mississippi River.

On April 5, Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election, citing personal reasons involving his family. Davis was chosen by Illinois Republican Party leaders on May 19 to fill Johnson’s vacant spot on the ballot. Davis said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the decision, which he was notified of via text message while coaching his twin sons’ baseball team.

Gill, a physician, ran and lost to Johnson three times in the 15th District before the redistricting but is now facing a potentially less-Republican-leaning district.

“This is a lean Democratic district, and David is the only candidate chosen by real people,” said Gill spokesman Mike Richards in a previous interview. On his campaign website, Gill said he’s running because “Congress just isn’t working for working people anymore. I’m ready to fix that. I’m tired of seeing the wealthiest few — the millionaires and the multinational corporations — rig the system and force middle-class families, students and retirees on fixed income to pay the price.”

However, America’s deficit takes precedence for Hartman.

“I know students are very concerned about getting a job once they get out of college, and I share that concern,” said Hartman, CFO of DNA Polymerase Technology Inc. “We have the ability in Washington to do more harm than good, and I’m afraid that we are doing harm to their economic prospects by running these massive deficits.”

Davis, a former congressional aide to Rep. John Shimkus, R-19, is also campaigning on economic issues, with one of his top priorities being to re-establish bipartisanship in American economic policy. According to Davis, “I want to go to Washington and score some touchdowns, address some major issues that need to be addressed. I think the only way to do that is to work with both parties, Democrats and Republicans, because frankly both of them are to blame.”

As Election Day approaches, all three candidates expect to do a lot of campaigning across the entire district, with several events in the Champaign-Urbana area. Details and dates for these events have yet to be announced.

_Matt can be reached at [email protected]_