CHAMPAIGN — Republican congressional nominee Rodney Davis of Taylorville said today he plans to spend so much time in Champaign County over the next five months "I think you might get sick of seeing me."
Davis, an aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, was chosen 2 1/2 weeks ago to be the Republican Party nominee in the 13th Congressional District, replacing U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, who opted not to run for a seventh term.
Johnson, a Republican from Urbana, dropped out of the race after winning the March 20 primary election, meaning that the 14 GOP county chairmen in the district had to choose his successor.
Davis was not the favorite of Champaign County Republicans in the selection process, with many of the local GOP lining up behind either Urbana native Erika Harold, a Chicago lawyer, or Jerry Clarke, a former aide to Johnson who still lives in Urbana.
But none of that history was mentioned Thursday morning as about 50 local Republicans gave Davis a standing ovations at what was billed "a grass roots breakfast."
"I understand the importance of Champaign County in this race," Davis told the crowd. "I think you might get sick of seeing me. I hope you do. But you know what? I will not be outworked as a candidate."
Champaign County provided the greatest number of Republican primary votes among all the counties in the district — 10,060 of 51,932 cast.
"I will work hard over the next five months to ensure that we do not let you down and we keep this seat in Republican hands to keep Nancy Pelosi out of the speaker's chair for the rest of her career," Davis said. "I know that Champaign County is going to continue to bleed Republican red and we're going to continue to increase our margins here."
Davis said he's been in Champaign County four times since being chosen the congressional candidate "doing media interviews and meetings with different folks in the area and just trying to get out and about."
Thursday, Davis had meetings planned with representatives of the Champaign County Farm Bureau and the local chamber of commerce.
He also has been involved in fundraising, he said, in a race that the National Republican Congressional Committee estimates would require $2.5 million.
"We're optimistic that we're going to have the resources necessary to wage this campaign against not only my opponent but against the national Democrats and their billion-dollar superPAC allies," Davis said.