Davis, in Urbana, says local incident involving former aide is news to him


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CHAMPAIGN — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said he knows "absolutely nothing" about an incident in Champaign involving now-fired campaign aide Levi Lovell.

Nor has he spoken to Lovell, the Taylorville Republican said.

On a stop at an Urbana blood bank Wednesday, Davis said his first awareness of a Champaign incident was after it became public — or, specifically, "when the police report was released, and I read about it today," he said.

Lovell was arrested earlier this month after turning up drunk at a campaign event in Springfield for Davis' Democratic opponent, Betsy Londrigan, and allegedly antagonizing Londrigan and her husband. He admitted he was a field director for Davis' campaign and had been videorecording Londrigan and her husband while trying to get her to say something inappropriate, according to a Springfield police report.

Lovell also told police he had been involved in a similar incident in Champaign, but no details about that incident have been made available.

Davis said again that he has apologized to his opponent about the Lovell incident. He said neither he nor his staff would have sent anyone out to do something like that.

Still, Davis said, "the buck stops with me."

He also said the incident signaled a need for action.

"Politics should not be what we saw in that video," Davis said. "It's certainly not what I stand for."

Asked how two significant events in Donald Trump's presidency Tuesday would affect his support for the president, Davis was vague.

He said he clearly has a good record of working with the current administration but plans to learn more about the developments and judge based on the facts.

"Nobody has my support 100 percent," he said.

On Tuesday, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was convicted of eight financial crimes, and the president's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and other charges.

"Clearly, yesterday was not a good day for the president," Davis said.

At Community Blood Services of Illinois' Urbana location, Davis donated blood and talked up the importance for others to do so. The agency said he has been a regular blood donor and an advocate of blood donation.

Donations typically lag in the summer months, and Davis' visit came at a time when agencies are encouraging donations to ensure a good supply for Labor Day weekend.


Debra Pressey is a reporter covering health care at The News-Gazette. Her email is dpressey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@DLPressey).