Politics & Government

Potential challenger gears up for a run against Bost in 12th District

A Mascoutah man is preparing a run against U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro in the 2020 election.

Joel D. Funk has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to raise money as a Democrat for a campaign in the 12th Congressional District, which encompasses most of southwest Illinois.

Funk is a Northwestern Mutual financial representative in Fairview Heights, who previously served in the U.S. Army, according to his LinkedIn page. His last assignment in the Army was as a group aviation officer at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He also served in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.

A formal campaign launch for Funk, along with his ideas and positions, could come in the near future, Funk said via a Facebook message to a Belleville News-Democrat reporter.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not identified the 12th district as a possible district to flip since Brendan Kelly, the former St. Clair County state’s attorney and current Illinois State Police acting director, came up short in his bid to unseat Bost in the 2018 election.

Earlier this week, Funk tweeted an article about the ongoing trade war as China has asked state-owned entities to stop buying American soybeans.

“I’d love to see (Bost) explain why the trade war is good for Southern Illinois now,” Funk tweeted.

“The national debt is setting new highs. The fed is lowering rates to spurn growth. The tariffs that (Bost) supports are hurting trade and our cost of living,” Funk said in another tweet. “There is causality between all of these numbers. We are paying for it now, but he will pay for it in November 2020.”

Bost, who served in the Marines, has continued raising money despite not knowing whether he will be embroiled in competitive election next year. As of the end of June, Bost has raised more than $596,000 in this election cycle and had more than $423,000 of cash on hand, according to the FEC.

Bost said it would be strange if he didn’t have a challenger, as he usually has had someone running against him.

“Right now I’m doing my job, want to work hard for the people and do what I’m supposed to do,” Bost said during a visit to the Belleville Fire Department on Wednesday. “I do that by listening on a regular basis and meeting with people, meeting with fire departments, everything like that and getting out here whenever we’re back in the district.”

In the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats were able to retake control of the House. With a potential challenger stepping up, the DCCC seems prepared to campaign in the 12th District.

“After winning a historic victory in 2018, Democrats are working to expand and protect our majority so it can keep delivering for the middle-class by working to lower the cost of health care and create greater economic opportunity,” said Mike Gwin, a DCCC spokesman. “We’re doing that by competing in every corner of the map and by holding bought and paid-for politicians like Mike Bost accountable for their record of putting special interest donors ahead of affordable health care and lower taxes for their constituents.”

Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referenda.