Politics & Government

Grain and cattle farmer from Oakland, Illinois, jumps into 15th District race

An Oakland, Illinois, woman has jumped into the race to replace U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, in the 15th Congressional District

Republican Mary Miller, who runs a grain and cattle farm with her husband, Chris, announced her candidacy Wednesday.

“I want to advocate for faith, family and freedom. I will do what is best to uphold the Constitution of the United States and fight against the far-left socialist agenda, which is detrimental to the future of our country and is full of nothing but false promises,” Mary Miller said.

Showing she may be a formidable candidate, her campaign announced Wednesday that she had raised more than $100,000 within hours of her formal campaign launch.

Chris Miller is a state representative.

Mary Miller, 60, said in a news release her top priorities would be to make the 2017 tax cuts permanent, promoting Illinois agriculture, coal and oil production, pro-growth business policies, and protecting the southern border.

“I stand with President Trump on immigration,” Mary Miller said. “Everyone agrees that legal immigration has been, and will continue to be, an important part of what makes us a great country. But we cannot continue to allow people to sneak in illegally. We need to secure our borders, build the wall, and reform our immigration system.”

With Shimkus not running for re-election, several candidates have decided to run for the seat.

So far, Alex Walker, of Mattoon, Lori Fuller of Collinsville, Charles Ellington, of Camargo, and John Bambenek, of Champaign, are the other Republicans to formally launch campaigns in the 15th District.

On the Democratic side, John W. Hursey Jr. of Collinsville is running for the seat, as is Kevin Gaither of Charleston.

Other possible Republican candidates include state Sen. Jason Plummer, R-Edwardsville, Danville attorney Chris Quick, Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler, and Madison County Board member Chris Guy, who are all considering runs. Sarah Frey, who runs Frey Farms in Keenes, also is reportedly being encouraged to run.

The district includes Collinsville but mostly covers southeastern Illinois to the Kentucky and Indiana borders.

The primary election is scheduled for March 17, with the general election on Nov. 3, 2020.


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.