CHAMPAIGN — Frank Metzger was in Champaign Monday morning to insist that yes, he is still running for Congress.
Metzger, 70, a retired ironworker from Glen Carbon, is the third Republican candidate for Congress in the new 13th Congressional District. He is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, and Michael Firsching of Moro.
Metzger was not quoted in a News-Gazette story about the race because he could not be reached for comment. He said Monday that his voice mail box had filled and that he did not return calls.
Metzger, who said he had lived in Urbana about 25 years ago while working at the Clinton nuclear power plant, owns a tree-trimming business. He is the father of eight and the grandfather of 17. A veteran, he said he served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
"I pledge my life, my minuscule fortune and my sacred honor to the people," said Metzger, who last year told The News-Gazette that he is "the only Republican ironworker who is a tea party Republican."
If elected, Metzger said he would vote to cut spending, would not vote for any new taxes and would support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to Houston, which he said would provide "another 10,000 America jobs."
"I want to put Americans to work developing all types of our energy resources here at home," he said. "Mr. Obama and company are blatantly anti-fossil fuel and blatantly anti-business."
Metzger said he would not be a typical congressman.
"I am not politically correct. I do not look like I just stepped off the cover of GQ magazine," he said, orange hard hat in hand. "I will serve and protect my country against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Metzger, Johnson and Firsching are running in a new congressional district that stretches from Champaign-Urbana southwest through Decatur, Bloomington-Normal and Springfield to the Edwardsville and Collinsville areas. Two Democrats, David Gill of Bloomington and Matt Goetten of Carroltton, are running in the district.