URBANA — Brendan McGinty, a seven-year Champaign County Board member from Urbana, has decided not to run for the Democratic nomination for the 13th Congressional District seat.
McGinty said the decision of former state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Collinsville, to enter the race changed the political outlook for Democrats.
"Jay's entry into the race makes him the instant front-runner in the Democratic primary," said McGinty, who has already announced that he will not run for another term on the county board. "I do believe, however, that his 51.5 percent Republican district with a sitting incumbent will be quite a challenge for a Democrat to win."
Hoffman said Sunday in Champaign that he would formally announce his candidacy later this week in a series of campaign appearances, including one Thursday morning at the Illini Union. David Gill, a Bloomington physician, is already an announced candidate, as is James Gray, a retired Litchfield educator. Matt Goetten, the Greene County state's attorney, also is considering the contest.
Six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, is considered to be the likely Republican candidate in a district that arcs from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast end to Collinsville on the southwest end. In between are all or parts of Decatur, Bloomington-Normal and Springfeld.
McGinty said the race will be expensive.
"Jay can raise a million bucks and still be a million short of Tim," he said.
McGinty said he would refrain from endorsing Hoffman or any other Democratic contender "for now."
He also said that he likely will not run for any office in 2012.
"After extensive analysis with a wide range of advice from family, friends and foes alike, I've decided not to pursue" the congressional seat, he said.
"While I'm interested in serving in a higher office, the timing for a variety of reasons isn't right," McGinty added.