CHAMPAIGN— Speaker of the House John Boehner served as the featured speaker at a fundraising dinner for 13th Congressional District candidate Rodney Davis on Thursday night in Champaign.
An estimated 200 people turned out for the $250 per person dinner at the I Hotel and Conference Center to hear the 11-term congressman from suburban Cincinnati.
The event was not open to the public.
"Speaker Boehner's coming here is an affirmation that Champaign County matters," said Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Habeeb Habeeb. "He is here to support Rodney Davis, who is running in an important race for us."
State GOP Chairman Pat Brady said Boehner's appearance shows how important the 13th Congressional District is to the balance of power in Congress.
"The Democrats have targeted Illinois to pick up the seats necessary to gain back the majority," Brady said.
About 60 protesters picketed outside the conference center during the event.
Gail Taylor of Urbana said she was picketing to call attention to women's issues.
"We're here to empower ourselves at a time when women's issues are basically being swept under the carpet," Taylor said.
Matt Langendorf of St. Joseph, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 149, said he was picketing to oppose right-to-work laws.
"Right to Work is bad for workers," Langendorf said. "While we have a lot of county and local candidates who support working people, Mr. Boehner and many of the Republicans today are out to get the working people of this country. The working people are not the problem."