Last November, Bobby Schilling ran for a seat from the 17th District. He lost (again) to Cheri Bustos. So, apparently, he is thinking of turning carpetbagger and running in the 18th District for Aaron Schock’s soon-to-be vacated seat.
State Sen. Darin LaHood of Peoria is the early frontrunner in the forthcoming Republican primary, but Schilling represented part of Illinois’ 18th District during his time in Congress and could bring some name identification to the race.
Schilling represented 16 percent of the population of the 18th District in the old 17th District from 2011-12, according to Daily Kos Elections. The congressman lost re-election in 2012 to Democrat Cheri Bustos by 6 points under new lines drawn by Democrats, and he failed in a rematch against the congresswoman last year by 10 points.
Unlike the 17th District, the 18th was drawn by Democrats to be a GOP seat. While that eases the general election contest, winning the primary could be difficult for Schilling. LaHood announced his candidacy less than 24 hours after Schock’s resignation announcement and has worked to consolidate establishment support. LaHood’s father, Ray, represented more than half the district as a Republican in the House from the mid-1990s until he was appointed to President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
But Darin LaHood is not invulnerable in a shortened race from a challenge by someone with financial resources or name identification.
So, will Schilling rent a hotel room in Peoria to meet residency requirements? Probably won’t even be required to do that.
In any event, I don’t see Schilling as having a snowball’s change in Hell. Sure the 18th is strongly Republican. But the 18th is also strongly moderate Republican. A Tea Party drone has little change of winning the general, and probably not much more of winning the primary.