BLOOMINGTON — David Gill, who lost the 13th Congressional District race two years ago by 1,002 votes — or less than 4/10ths a percentage point — said Saturday that he would not run an independent campaign for the seat.
As recently as two weeks ago, Gill was polling voters in the district about a possible candidacy in what already is a three-way race with incumbent Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville, Democratic challenger Ann Callis of Edwardsville and third-party entrant Joshua Dill of Springfield, a member of the newly formed Lincoln Liberty Party.
Gill, a 53-year-old Bloomington emergency room physician, lost narrowly two years ago to Davis, although he has contended since that if not for independent candidate John Hartman, he would have been elected. Hartman got 7 percent of the votes in the 2012 race.
Last month, Gill resigned from a $127,739-a-year executive post with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
In an emailed statement Saturday, Gill said he "essentially won Illinois' 13th Congressional District seat in 2012, with only the presence of an independent candidate who echoed the same themes as Gill causing the vote to be split just enough to permit Davis to prevail. In spite of Gill's success, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chose not to support a Gill campaign in 2014; the DCCC had also actively worked against Gill in the primary of 2012." He said he "chose to not run against the DCCC again in the 2014 Democratic primary." The DCCC supported Callis in her three-way race this year against Champaign Democrats George Gollin and David Green.
Following the primary, Gill said he had "commissioned a poll in IL-13 to assess voters' views on a variety of topics, as well as to measure voters' awareness of and support for multiple candidates."
The results, he said, were "both enlightening and encouraging," but he "decided against attempting to run for Congress during this current cycle."
According to the State Board of Elections website, Gill would have needed to gather petitions with the signatures of between 15,205 and 24,327 registered voters by June 23 in order to be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.
In his last federal campaign finance report, Gill said he had $3,408 on hand. In their most recent reports, Davis had $1.11 million and Callis had almost $450,000.
"Dr. Gill has long spoken out about the fact that at the federal level both the Democrats and the Republicans are financed by Wall Street and corporate interests, and for that reason Congress works for the well-being of the super-wealthy but not for the vast majority of the rest of us. Thus it was no surprise that in spite of Gill's 2012 success, the DCCC chose to go in a different direction," he said in his prepared remarks.
He was not available for further comment.
If he had run again this year, it would have been Gill's fifth congressional campaign. He lost three times to former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, in the old 15th Congressional District: in 2010 (64 percent to 36), in 2006 (58 to 42) and in 2004 (61 to 39).
The 13th District is more favorable to Democrats, although it is still considered marginally Republican. It arcs from Champaign-Urbana on the northeast to the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis on the southwest.