Politics & Government

Schimpf won’t seek re-election to Illinois Senate, doesn’t give a reason

State Sen. Paul Schimpf announced Friday he won’t seek a second term in the Illinois Senate, possibly clearing the way for an appointment to a federal judgeship.

“Although I am honored to represent the people of the 58th District in Springfield and enjoy serving as their state senator, I am unable to commit to serving an additional term that would start in 2021,” said Schimpf, R-Waterloo. “Therefore, I will not be a candidate for re-election in the upcoming campaign cycle.”

Political insiders said Schimpf is being considered for a federal judgeship. Schimpf spokesman Mike Brooks would not comment on any possible appointment or other reasons why Schimpf may not be running for a second term.

Schimpf was elected in 2016 when he defeated Democrat Sheila Simon for the open seat. For the time being, he will continue to serve in the seat.

“I am focused on making the remainder of my term as effective as possible for the people of Southern Illinois,” Schimpf said.

After a bill-signing event Friday afternoon in Sparta attended by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Schimpf said he couldn’t comment further on his decision not to seek re-election.

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58th State Senate District Illinois State Board of Elections

Schimpf’s announcement comes as candidates gear up to circulate petitions to run in the 2020 election. State Senate candidates need to collect between 1,000 to 3,000 signatures. They may begin circulating petitions on Sept. 3.

The 58th state Senate District runs from southern St. Clair County to Union County, and stretches east to Mount Vernon.

One potential Republican who is considering running for Schimpf’s seat is state Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro. She said she still has to have a discussion with her campaign team and family.

“Certainly the timing would be right for it, and it would give me a larger, greater ability to continue to work for Southern Illinois,” Bryant said. “We’ve done a good job down here, working in a bipartisan way to get the job done. The possibility of bringing the ability to speak for a larger, or greater geographic area of Southern Illinois is definitely something I’m taking a look at.”

Bryant said if she decides to seek the Senate seat, it would be an honor.

“I was aware that (Schimpf) was being considered for something else, and he and I are friends, so he and I talk a lot,” Bryant said. “I wasn’t absolutely for sure he was not going to seek re-election. Sometimes when you’re seeking a different job, and you’re dependent upon someone else making appointments or things like that. ... I didn’t know for sure where the senator was going to go, but he gave me little hints of it throughout and it has given me a chance to take a good look at it.”


Why did we do this story?

The November 2020 election may be more than a year away, but candidates are starting to organize and begin the process to appear on the ballot. On Sept. 3, candidates were allowed to begin collecting signatures on petitions that are required to appear on the March 17 primary ballot. Official filing of petitions is scheduled from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2. The BND will cover the important steps leading up to the election as part of our role in giving you information that will help you participate in civic life and be a watchdog of the candidates and the election process.

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.