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Wednesday, 13 July 2011 00:00

Gill enters Democratic race to challenge Republican Johnson in new congressional district

Written by  Chris Lusvardi | Herald Review

The first Democrat has announced plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson in his new district, and the two candidates are quite familiar with each other.

Bloomington resident David Gill said Thursday he will run against Johnson for the fourth time in the newly configured 13th Congressional District, which includes all of Macon County and stretches from the Champaign area, through parts of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Taylorville, Pana and down into the Madison County area.

Gill, an emergency room physician at Advocate BroMmenn Medical Center in Normal, hopes the district's newly drawn boundary lines give him a better chance at unseating Johnson, who has been in Congress since 2001.

Gill said Johnson, a Republican from Urbana, is out of touch with Central Illinois after being in Washington so long.

"Over the next few weeks, I will be saying hello to old friends in the district and introducing myself to new ones, starting with the parades this Fourth of July weekend as I begin my campaign to bring Central Illinois values to Washington," Gill said. "(Johnson's) extreme voting record is out of touch with Central Illinois."

During the 2006 election, Gill said he had more votes in portions of the 13th District, where the two have faced off before.

During this campaign, Gill is looking forward to relating with voters in rural areas.

"The commonsense values I practice help me relate to the concerns of rural and small town voters in Central Illinois," Gill said.

Gill is a pro-gun candidate and longtime advocate of expanding the "green" energy economy to create jobs. He wants to improve health care for all Americans and safeguard programs and services for veterans from budget cuts.

Johnson will face opposition in the Republican primary from Sam Spradlin, a 46-year-old truck driver from Springfield.

Johnson has acknowledged he could face a tougher battle in the new 13th than he has in the old 15th, which he called "overwhelmingly Republican." Gov. Pat Quinn signed the new boundaries into law last week.

Johnson has plans to rent an apartment or house in Litchfield to be in the middle of the district during the coming campaign season.

Much of the new territory in Central and Southwestern Illinois is currently represented by Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville. Shimkus is planning to run in the newly reconfigured 15th Congressional District, made up of counties and communities in East and Southeast Illinois currently represented by Johnson.

Read 4120 times Last modified on Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:49

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