He lost to the son of a former rep. Can this Red Bud Republican beat the son of another?

David Friess will challenge Nathan Reitz in the 116th District

David Friess, a Red Bud republican, will challenge Democrat State Rep. Nathan Reitz during the 2020 Election.
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David Friess, a Red Bud republican, will challenge Democrat State Rep. Nathan Reitz during the 2020 Election.

A man who tried to unseat a Democratic state representative in 2018 is going to try again.

David Friess, a Red Bud Republican, announced on Monday he is running in the 116th House District.

In 2018 Friess ran and lost to then state Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, by seven percentage points. Costello, the son of a former congressman, has since resigned from the seat to become the director of law enforcement for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

State Rep. Nathan Reitz, D-Steeleville, and son of the representative who preceded Costello in the district, took office in May putting him in place for a pivotal vote on the progressive income tax proposal. Reitz ultimately voted to place the progressive income tax constitutional amendment proposal on the November 2020 ballot. Costello had said he was against the proposal.

Reitz did vote against the Reproductive Health Act, which ensures abortion access as a fundamental right. He also voted against the fix the FOID act, which would have required fingerprinting for people to get FOID cards.

In Friess’ announcement video, posted on his campaign Facebook page, he boasts about how he is pro-second amendment and anti-abortion.

Speaking to what probably may be the central theme of the election season, as it has in previous elections, Friess said he won’t vote to raise taxes or increase spending.

State Rep. Nathan Reitz, D-Steeleville, who replaced Jerry Costello II in the House in May 2019, discusses his goals as a new state representative and his thoughts on a proposal to have a progressive income tax system in Illinois.

“It’s time to finish what we started in the last election. It’s time we had a conservative voice in the 116th District,” said Friess.

Friess, who previously ran for Randolph County state’s attorney doesn’t mention Reitz’s name, but goes after Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“I’ll make it my mission to defeat the corrupt Madigan-Pritzker agenda,” Friess said.

During the 2018 campaign, Friess and Costello sparred over Friess’ time on the Red Bud City Council, including votes on the city’s annual property tax levy and Friess’ attendance to meetings.

Friess served in the Air Force during the Gulf War. He and his wife, Miki, have two children, Jeda and Thomas.

The 116th District runs from Cahokia to Chester, and from the Mississippi River to St. Libory, Coulterville and DuQuoin in the east.

Candidates from established parties may begin circulating petitions to run for office on Sept. 3. Democrats and Republicans running for state representative need to collect between 500 and 1,500 signatures from registered voters in their district.

Official filing of petitions for the 2020 election is scheduled from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2.


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.