PEORIA — There will be no fourth U.S. House run for Bobby Schilling.
The former one-term House member announced Saturday morning that after “a lot of praying and discerning” he would not seek the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, and was instead throwing his support to state Sen. Darin LaHood for the post.
“This guy is a great family man, he’s one of the most conservative senators that we have from this great state of Illinois,” Schilling said, committing to campaign for LaHood particularly in western parts of the district that overlap with territory Schilling used to represent.
“He is someone that I respect, he is someone that has a lot of principle, and the values that he represents are very, very similar to mine,” said LaHood, R-Dunlap, at the announcement held at Peoria County GOP headquarters.
Schilling, R-Colona, won a race for the Quad Cities-centered 17th District in the GOP wave of 2010, but then lost two years later to now-Rep. Cheri Bustos in a race featuring redrawn district boundaries that incorporated parts of Peoria and Tazewell counties, as well as a portion of Rockford. He unsuccessfully sought to reclaim the seat last year.
He is the latest potential candidate to take a pass on the race for the Republican nomination for the seat Schock will quit Tuesday. State Sens. Bill Brady and Jason Barickman, both of Bloomington, and Rep. Mike Unes of East Peoria decided to stay in their current posts.
However, ex-state Rep. Jil Tracy of Quincy; Brady’s brother Ed, a real estate executive; state Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington and no relation to the other Bradys; and Lincoln Land Community College trustee Kent Gray are still weighing bids.
Former Chillicothe attorney Mark Zalcman, now a Normal resident just outside the district boundaries, is the only other announced Republican candidate. He initially challenged state Rep. David Leitch in the 2014 primary, but was removed from the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
Democrats have not yet had a candidate declare, though state Sen. John Sullivan of Rushville is reported to be considering a run.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has five days after Tuesday to set the date for a special election, with party primaries coming before that date.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3135. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard