The next test of donald trumpHis supporting power comes from Illinois, where he has done everything for a congressional freshman in a district deliberately to tip in favor of an incumbent House Republicans.
Tuesday’s primary will pick either freshman Rep. Maria Mueller or five terms Rep. Rodney Davis from Congress. Because of the district’s re-election, they are running against each other for the GOP nomination to represent the state’s 15th district.
Davis’ seniority offers several advantages. His campaign has dominated the hunt for money, and as the senior member of the House Executive Committee, he would be poised to become chairman if Republicans regain the majority.
Miller has Trump. He organized a fundraiser for her and played at her June 25 rally.
“With Mary, you can elect a fearless America First Patriot,” he said, praising the Make America Great Again superfan as “pro MAGA through and through.”
“My friends, this race is between MAGA and a RINO establishment member,” Miller said, using the abbreviation for “Republican in name only.”
“If Mary Miller wins, Trump will change the game. I think he could win thousands of votes in the primary,” said Ben Stratemeyer, Marion County state GOP chairman, who did not endorse either candidate.
Davis has reminded voters that he was co-chair of Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign committee in Illinois and voted on major bills that Trump signed into law.
“I will not be squandering my record as the only person in this race who actually helped President Trump and his administration draft the Trump tax cut bill,” Davis said in an interview, referring to a measure (PL 115-97) that caused most tax rates have been temporarily lowered.
Davis described himself as a conservative, anti-abortion, and gun-law candidate.
In Congress, he has introduced proposals for forgivable rural manufacturing loan programs, tax cuts for small businesses, more money for small community transit projects, federal subsidies for hiring community police officers, and grants for parents whose children could not attend in-person classes in the worst moments of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Heading into this election year, Illinois Democrats were concerned that Davis might run for governor. They drew a new congressional district map with a pro-Republican district on its lawn, hoping it would help motivate Davis to skip a gubernatorial election.
It worked. He is running for re-election in a district encompassing the suburbs of Springfield, Decatur and Champaign, where television viewers have seen Davis’ ads for a decade.
Those constituents could also be nudged in Davis’ direction by his many endorsements, including the US Chamber of Commerce, local law enforcement groups, the Illinois Farm Bureau, federal and state legislatures, and established GOP county and community leaders.
Davis raised $3.5 million as of June 8 compared to Miller’s $1.5 million, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Outside groups have also spent millions trying to influence primary voters.
Davis said he is confident he will be re-elected. “I’ve represented a district that was drawn by lot to elect a Democrat for nine and a half years now. And we won it – there was some frustration – but we won it every time,” he said.
A scrutiny Miller introduced mirrors the agenda of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, of which she is a member. Bills sponsored by Miller would ban federal funds from being paid out to public schools that require students to wear face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic, provide protections to service members who refuse to get vaccinated against the pandemic and who Restrict school use of locker rooms and bathrooms based on a person’s gender assigned at birth.
One of Miller’s first votes in Congress was to nullify the Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral college votes after the 2020 presidential election. Davis voted the other way.
Your campaign did not respond to numerous requests for comments on this article.
Although the majority of Democrats in the Legislature developed the 15th district with Davis in mind, packing in more GOP voters means more potential turnout for this embattled primary — and no way of knowing if people who have a lot of faith in the recommendations the Chamber of Commerce will be outnumbered by those inclined to take Trump’s word on who deserves a vote.
Another joker: How voters will react to Miller saying onstage with Trump that the Supreme Court’s abortion decision was “a victory for white life,” which has garnered a lot of attention from national news outlets.
Overall, the new district “fits well with Mary Miller in that it’s a much more conservative district than Rodney Davis’ current district,” said consultant Frank Calabrese, hired by the Chicago City Council Latino Caucus, to help redesign the council help district lines last year.
“However, Rodney Davis has been in the media markets for the new 15th Ward for all but one area for a decade,” Calabrese said. “He was a prime target throughout his congressional career. And he always wins.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Joyce in Chicago firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the publisher responsible for this story: Tina May at email@example.com