DANVILLE — Less than two weeks since announcing a possible run for Congress, state Rep. Mike Marron, R-Fithian, has abandoned that plan, turning his focus to getting re-elected to his 104th Illinois House District seat next year after enduring what he describes as a “frustrating” first year at the Statehouse.
The Fithian-area farmer who was appointed to the seat a year ago and won election to it in November announced Thursday that he will file in November to run for re-election as a state representative so he can have more time with his family and help out with the family farm.
“It’s hard enough being gone to Springfield,” Marron said, mentioning that his daughter is 9 years old. “And certainly, Washington, D.C., is a larger time commitment, and a lot farther away.”
The man elected as the 104th Illinois House District representative in November said he owes it to his family, the voters in his district and those in the 15th Congressional District to take the next several weeks to explore whether he should run for Congress.
In announcing last week that he was exploring the idea of running for Congress, Marron said he would be traveling the 15th Congressional District extensively in building up to a decision. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, announced Aug. 30 that he would not be seeking a 13th term in Washington.
But Marron told The News-Gazette on Thursday that he intended to make a quick decision, partly because running for Congress would be a major undertaking that would have to mobilize quickly. And he said he wanted to give ample notice if he were not going run again for state representative.
“It was going to be a very tough race, no question about it,” Marron said in regard to a campaign in the 15th District, much of which is downstate of his home area in Vermilion County. He said its unique layout means a lot of votes come from downstate areas even though Danville is one of the more populated cities in it.
“It wasn’t going to be an easy undertaking; that was definitely something I took under consideration,” he said, adding that he’s not afraid of a challenge but that the timing wasn’t right.
Marron thanked people in the 15th Congressional District who he said reached out to say they were behind his candidacy and offered assistance. He said he also had calls from people encouraging him to stay on as state representative.
“I built up a good reputation, and people didn’t want to see me leave, which I felt good about,” he said.
Marron said other Republicans who he’s heard may be interested in running for Shimkus’ seat include state Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, and Champaign attorney Erika Harold, who ran for attorney general in 2018.
“Those are the two big ones,” he said.
In making his decision, Marron said he also considered where he could best serve the public.
“Helping people in Vermilion and Champaign counties is truly my passion,” he said, adding that it’s been challenging in the short time he’s been in Springfield. “Working hard in the district has been rewarding, and I consider it one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. Effecting change in Springfield is another, more challenging story.
“While it is the honor of a lifetime to represent you in the General Assembly, my first session was truly frustrating.”
Mentioning a renewed sense of purpose, Marron added that he now has a “clear vision of the problem” and what needs to be done to fix it.
“I went into this job under no illusions, understanding (Gov. J.B. Pritzker) was elected with a mandate for an agenda with which I have serious disagreements,” he said. “To make matters more difficult, he has the supermajorities to carry that mandate out. It is easy to point fingers and blame at Speaker (Michael) Madigan and the governor, who are certainly deserving. Instead, we must demand effective leadership from both sides of the aisle. Effective leadership is simple, and it always works.”
Although this wasn’t his time for a Congressional run, Marron said he would still be interested in the future.
“Serving in Congress, that would be the honor of a lifetime, and it would certainly be something that at some point I would be interested in,” he said. “I’ve just got to look at circumstances when they come up, and this just wasn’t the right time for it.”