Update: Rauner backing Shimkus over McCarter

Update: Rauner backing Shimkus over McCarter

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DANVILLE — Sen. Kyle McCarter says that U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a 10-term Republican congressman from Collinsville, has been in office long enough.

But Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn't agree. His office said Wednesday that the governor is backing Shimkus over McCarter in a GOP showdown in the 15th Congressional District, an area that includes 33 counties, most of them in the southern half of the state.

"The governor endorses Congressman Shimkus, who is a supporter of the Turnaround Agenda," Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said. "The governor told Senator McCarter he should not challenge Congressman Shimkus and help him pass the Turnaround Agenda in Springfield."

Rauner's support became an issue when McCarter, in announcing his candidacy Wednesday, noted that he also was a strong supporter of Rauner's agenda.

Asked if Rauner would endorse him, McCarter said, "I don't know why not. We've talked about it but you'd better ask him."

It's an unusual political situation since both McCarter and Rauner say they are strong supporters of term limits, and Shimkus broke his pledge to serve no more than six terms.

"The truth is we don't need more career politicians. We need people who will hold to term limits and I will do that," McCarter said in Danville Wednesday morning, the first stop on a four-city tour of the district that stretches from southern Ford County to the Ohio River on the south and the Mississippi River on the west. "I'm term limiting myself in the state Senate. I am saying today that I am not going to be running again.

"I was eight years on the county board, I'll be eight to 10 years in the state Senate and I'm willing to make that commitment. If we don't get rid of the career politicians, the people's voices will not be heard as loudly and clearly as they should be."

McCarter said he would serve no more than 10 years in Congress.

"The bill I'm cosponsoring now in the state Senate is for 10 years and I think that's reasonable. Eight or 10, it doesn't matter, whatever the people decide," he said.

McCarter, a member of the Senate since 2009, also hit Shimkus for his vote last week for a short-term federal funding bill that included money for Planned Parenthood.

"We've asked him to be a very loud voice against the atrocities of Planned Parenthood. Yet he marches in protest in front of Planned Parenthood in one week and then the next week he goes to Washington, D.C., and he does exactly what we asked him not to do and that is to fund it," said McCarter.

On Sept. 30 Shimkus was one of 91 House Republicans to vote for the short-term federal spending bill that included money for Planned Parenthood.

Shimkus spokesman Steve Tomaszewski said only that the congressman has voted to redirect entitlement funds away from Planned Parenthood, and that the National Right to Life Committee had said that the continuing resolution was not the proper vehicle for defunding Planned Parenthood.

Tomaszewki also noted that McCarter had voted in August for a federal funds pass-through bill in the Senate that did not include a prohibition on funding for Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, Shimkus said he had no problem with a challenge from McCarter.

"As a free market Republican, I always say that competition is good. With that said, I will strongly defend my conservative voting record, my accessibility throughout the district, and the constituent service that my office provides to the people of Illinois," he said.

He also pointed out that he lives in the congressional district while McCarter — at least at this time — does not.

"Unlike my opponent, my family lives in the 15th District, and we never moved to Washington. And I am proud to be a public servant — from West Point to the Army to teaching to county government to Congress," Shimkus said.

McCarter said Wednesday that he and his wife Victoria "are trying to find a place in Effingham," which is in the district.

He said he has been planning a challenge to Shimkus all summer, and that he intended to campaign hard for the next six months.

"I'm going to be sleeping in Effingham and driving probably 60, 70,000 miles. Every bit of energy I've got I'm going to put into this thing. I'm all in," said the 53-year-old small businessman.

He acknowledged he faced an uphill race, since Shimkus has more than a million dollars in his campaign fund, plus the advantages of incumbency.

"The energy and the efforts of people will overcome the money. We will have financial backers as well," he said. "Will it be the millions from special interests? No, it won't. But it will be a lot of small gifts from hard-working people that believe in what I'm talking about, and who want to take back Washington, D.C., one seat at a time."

The 15th Congressional District includes most of Champaign County outside of Champaign-Urbana, plus a small part of Ford County, and all of Vermilion, Coles, Douglas, Edgar and Moultrie counties in East Central Illinois.

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spangwurfelt wrote on October 07, 2015 at 5:10 pm

And so the GOP continues to eat its own, fueled by the idiocy of the Tea Party.