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Filing ends in Illinois for March primary

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2011 - As expected, seven candidates have filed by Tuesday's Illinois deadline to run for a soon-to-be-vacant congressional seat encompassing portions of the Metro East.

Three Democrats and four Republicans signed up with the Illinois Board of Elections to compete in the March 20th primary for the state's 12th congressional district seat. The deadline to file was Tuesday afternoon.

The three Democrats are former St. Clair County regional Superintendent of Schools Brad Harriman, Iraq War veteran Chris Miller and Granite City resident Ken Wiezer.

Republicans running for the seat include 2010 GOP lieutenant governor nominee Jason Plummer, former Belleville mayor Rodger Cook, 2010 Republican congressional nominee Teri Newman and O'Fallon resident Theresa Kormos.

The crowd has amassed because U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, has decided to retire and not seek re-election in 2012.

While Costello typically won re-election by significant margins, Republicans see an opportunity to flip the district. They point to the district's improved GOP numbers in 2010 for statewide contests.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, a Collinsville Republican who represents Illinois' 19th District in Congress, signed up to run in Illinois' 15th congressional district. The 15th District includes big swaths of central, eastern and southern Illinois.

"I believe my duty as a member of Congress is to both represent and to advocate for my constituents," Shimkus said in a statement. "While over 53 percent of the residents of the 15th district are my current constituents,that means there are many new constituents who don't know me yet, and I hope this brief introduction is helpful.

Angela Michael -- a Highland Democrat -- was the only other candidate to run the 15th district. An anti-abortion activist, KMOX reported earlier  that she plans a TV ad blitz featuring images of aborted fetuses.

U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, who now represents the 15th District, signed up to run in the 13th congressional district. That district includes portions of Collinsville, Glen Carbon and Edwardsville.

In addition to Johnson, two Republicans -- Glen Carbon native Frank Metzger and Moro resident Michael Firsching -- are also running for the 13th district seat. Bloomington resident David Gill and Carrollton native Matthew Goetten are running for that district as Democrats.

Jason Rosenbaum, a freelance journalist in St. Louis, covers state and local government and politics. 

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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