URBANA — U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, is expected to announce Thursday that he is leaving Congress at the end of his current term.
Johnson, who is completing his sixth term in the U.S. House, has scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference at the Urbana City Building to make the announcement.
Just two weeks ago, Johnson, 65, won the Republican nomination over two other candidates in the new 13th Congressional District. He got more than 68 percent of the vote in the district that arcs from Champaign-Urbana southwest to the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis.
Johnson’s decision means that the Republican county chairmen in the 13th District will have to select the new Republican candidate to oppose Bloomington physician David Gill, whom Johnson had defeated in three earlier congressional elections. There are a number of possible contenders, including several current and former state representatives and senators, as well as Johnson’s former chief of staff, Jerry Clarke, who while he works for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Wheaton has maintained his Urbana residence. Clarke is a major in the Army Reserve, and has served three tours in Iraq.
Gill narrowly defeated Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten in the March 20 Democratic Party primary.
Although Johnson was first elected to Congress in 2000, he had served in the Illinois House since 1976 and before that was a member of the Urbana City Council. A retirement from politics this year means that Johnson would leave without having lost an election.