Tim Butler, a Republican state representative from Springfield, has a unique view of the 18th Congressional District.
The Peoria native served on the staff of former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood for all seven terms LaHood was in Congress. More recently, he has been district chief of staff to another Congressman, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville). Now he’s in the statehouse and backing LaHood’s son, State Sen. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap), in the special election in the 18th.
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) is resigning, effective March 31, after investigations revealed spending improprieties.
It should be a crowded field, Butler says. “These are big jobs, and, usually, a lot of people are interested in them,” Butler says, noting that the winner will represent perhaps 800,000 Illinoisans. “You have a lot of people who are involved in the political process; you have a lot of business people, who, I’m sure, would be interested in someone.”
Butler says the district is likely to stay Republican, seeing as how the post-2010 Census remap made it even more Republican before, all the better to carve out a Democrat-leaning Central Illinois district. A Republican, Davis, won that district.
The 18th District can trace its lineage to Abraham Lincoln’s time in Congress and has been Republican for about 100 years straight. It has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R +11, making it the state’s second-most Republican district.