Another candidate decides to jump into the 15th congressional district race

A Mattoon man has thrown his name into the hat to replace U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.

Republican Alex Walker, 33, announced he is seeking the party’s nomination in the 2020 election in the 15th Congressional District. He said he made the decision Friday night, after seeing the news that Shimkus decided he was not seeking another term in congress.

Walker, who is openly gay, said in a news release he is an avid conservative and a six-year Air Force veteran.

“I’m a conservative. I believe in the second amendment rights,” Walker said. “I believe we need border security, which includes the wall. I am anti-abortion. I am pro-life completely.”

He is the marketing director of the Illinois chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans.

He said he doesn’t buy into the belief that President Donald Trump is anti-LGBT.

“I believe this president has done more for the gay community than a lot of other presidents, especially Republicans,” Walker said, citing Trump appointing LGBT judges.

Walker said he is against allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

Walker is the first Republican to formally file paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to raise money for a campaign in the 15th district since Shimkus’ announcement.

State Rep. Mike Marron, R-Fithian, launched an exploratory committee on Tuesday for a potential run in the 15th.

Collinsville Democrat John W. Hursey Jr. is running for the seat.

Candidates were allowed to start circulating petitions on Tuesday for the March 2020 primary. The filing period for the 2020 election is Nov. 25 through Dec. 2.

The general election is Nov. 3, 2020.

If someone wants to run in the GOP primary in the heavily Republican 15th district, the person would need to gather at least 987 valid voter signatures in the district.

Democratic candidates need to collect at least 526 valid voter signatures, according to the state Board of Elections.

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


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.