Reporting from WILL's Sean Powers and WGLT's Charles Schlenker.
Congressman Rodney Davis has announced that he’s running for re-election next year. The Taylorville Republican kicked off a campaign tour Monday across the 13th Congressional District, with his first stop in Urbana.
See the bounds of the 13th via Govtrack:
Davis’ entrance into Congress happened in a pretty unconventional way. Before narrowly winning the General Election last November, GOP chairs in the 13th District picked him to replace Urbana Congressman Tim Johnson, who announced plans to leave politics shortly after winning the Republican primary.
“You know, it’s been a whirlwind over the last 16 months, and if you had told me two years ago today that I’d be a member of Congress gearing up for my first re-election bid, I would have said you were crazy,” Davis said.
Davis’ re-election bid comes shortly after his vote to reduce food stamp funding by $40 billion over the next decade. He also joined House Republicans in supporting a plan to keep the government running, while de-funding the health care law.
Some question whether the House should spend its time on Obamacare or link the issue to a possible government shutdown since the Senate is unlikely to follow, but Davis defends the vote.
"The President threatens to veto almost every piece of legislation that comes out of the House," Davis said. "The Senate Democrats go into a childlike fit every time we pass a bill. But, that doesn't mean that we are not going to lead."
Davis said he feels certain negotiators will avert a government shutdown.
"Stop the madness that we are going to see this weekend where you are going to see countdown clocks on the 24 hour news cycle," Davis said. "I believe we will come up with a good common sense solution that ensures that government operations remain intact.
Davis said longer term problems remain unaddressed.
He notes a Congressional Budget Office report last week estimates that without major changes to entitlement programs federal debt will reach 100 percent of Gross Domestic Product by the year 2038. Most economists believe that is too high to be sustainable.
With six months to go until the Republican Primary, Davis is up against Urbana Attorney Erika Harold, who also sought the Republican nomination after Tim Johnson’s withdrawal.