The next person to represent Illinois’ 15th Congressional District will be a woman from Coles County. Voters in Tuesday primary election selected Republican Mary Miller and Democrat Erika Weaver to run in November.
With 95% of precincts reporting, Weaver received 16,777 votes, or 51.9% of the total. She received more than twice the votes of any of her rivals, John Hursey, Craig Morton and 2019 Democratic nominee Kevin Gaither, who finished second.
Meanwhile, Miller’s 44.599 votes amounted to 57.% of the total, out-polling 2nd-place finisher Darren Duncan, who was trailed by Kerry Wolff and Chuck Ellington.
Miller manages a grain and livestock farm near Oakland with her husband, State Representative Chris Miller. Her campaign received endorsements and PAC money from the House Freedom Caucus.
“I support President Trump, and the America First Agenda,” said Miller. “And as I’ve traveled this district, it’s obvious that we need an economic boost. We need good jobs to the area.”
The 15th District (and the previous districts that occupied much the same territory) elected and re-elected 12-term Republican John Shimkus. But Erika Weaver says she has the qualities to make voters consider a Democrat.
“At its core, every person in this district wants someone who is going to the job and is going to do it well,” said Weaver. “And so, I believe people will vote for someone that they can trust to do that.”
Weaver is a public defender and school board member in Mattoon, and the only African-American among the four Democrats and four Republicans who ran in the 15th District primary. Shimkus’ decision to step down attracted several candidates, but the expectation that Illinois will lose a downstate congressional seat after redistricting caused more experienced candidates to stay away.
Londrigan Rides Again
Meanwhile in the adjacent 13th congressional district seat, the race will be a repeat of 2018. Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will challenge Republican Congressman Rodney Davis for a second time.
Londrigan won 76% of the vote (or 47,465 votes, with all precincts reporting) to defeat Stefanie Smith in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Davis was unopposed in the Republican primary.
Londrigan says government response to the coronavirus pandemic is an issue that dovetails with the main plank of her campaign platform: healthcare.
“You know, making sure that people have access to quality affordable healthcare is why I got into this race in the first place,” said Londrigan. “And I’ll be watching very closely, because I want to see how Congress is going to help working families make it through this crisis.”
Londrigan made healthcare her main issue in 2018, when she lost to Rodney Davis by less than a percentage point. She says that election introduced her to voters, and she believes she’ll win over more of them this time.