IL-18: LaHood Will Retire

Weeks after failing in his bid to become the next President of Bradley University, Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois' 18th District has announced tonight that he will retire after seven terms in the House, according to the Associated Press.

LaHood's retirement will create an open seat in the 2008 elections, and provide Democrats an opportunity (if only a tough one) of picking up another seat in the House.  With a PVI of R+5.5, the 18th District supported Bush by a 54-44 margin in 2000, and by a wider 58-42 margin in 2004.  It would certainly be a tough district for any Democrat to win next year, but House Democrats have proven to be more able campaigners in red territory than Republicans are in bluer turf.  Indeed, seven of last year's 30 Democratic pick-ups in the House came in even redder districts than LaHood's.

So who might run for the Democrats?  DailyKos diarist MrLiberal suggests State Senator John Sullivan, a credible campaigner in the district, or Kevin Lyons, State's Attorney for Peoria County.

Keep your eyes peeled on this race.  It may be a tough nut to crack, but the NRCC can ill-afford too many more retirements like this one. 

7 thoughts on “IL-18: LaHood Will Retire”

  1. In the State Senate, he opposed a Stem Cell Research Bill that passed 35-23. We have quite enough Democratic Congressmen who oppose Stem Cell Research.

    Also it seems his environmental record is kinda shabby as well.

    I’d like to know more about Lyons.

  2. I assume State’s Attorney isn’t an elected position, but an appointed one. However, having your base be in Peoria County, at the center of the district (PDF), strikes me as a good position to start in. As far as I know, only a bit of Sullivan’s current district is in the 18th.

  3. Sen. Durbin (D) is bound to win with at least 60% of the vote and the (D) Presidential candidate should at least get 55% of the vote (if it’s Obama at least 60%).

  4. There are lots of candidates mentioned on the GOP side to replace Lahood:

    State Rep Aaron Schock from Peoria seems to be the most popular, with Darin Lahood (Rep. Lahood’s son) a possibility, Rep. David Leitch of Peoria as well.

    On the Dem side, they mention that the DCCC has already been in contact with John Sullivan (from Rushville, a rural town south of Peoria).  Little else at the moment.  Sullivan tried to get the nomination in the 17th (Lane Evans seat) but lost in the primary to Phil Hare who ended up winning the seat.  His State Senate seat is up for re-election in 2008.

    I grew up in this district and really didn’t get interested in politics until after I left but I don’t understand how the Peoria area, with its strong UAW base (Caterpillar headquarters) isn’t more Democratic.

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