On primary eve, new ads, new talk as Davis-Miller contest goes down to the wire

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A new television ad for U.S. Rep. Mary Miller plays up Saturday's in-person endorsement of former President Donald Trump at a rally in west central Illinois.

Miller's opponent in the 15th Congressional District Republican primary, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, was in Springfield for a last-minute campaign stop at the Sangamon County Republican Headquarters, drawing support from Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, and Sheriff Jack Campbell, among others.

Davis and Miller are in a neck-and-neck race in the newly drawn district that includes 35 counties, including a portion of Sangamon County and Springfield.

The primary is Tuesday with polls opening at 6 a.m.

Related: Mary Miller thanks Trump in Illinois for 'victory for white life,' reportedly botched remark

The winner of the Davis-Miller primary will face Paul Lange, a Democratic precinct committeeman from Quincy in the Nov. 8 general election.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, who has a newly minted endorsement from Trump, was at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport during a fly-around the state Monday.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, during a June 20 visit to Springfield.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, during a June 20 visit to Springfield.

Bailey, R-Xenia, has become the frontrunner in Republican primary for governor, in a field that includes billionaire Ken Griffin-backed Richard Irvin and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg.

The winner will face Democrat incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker in November.

The new Miller ad showed Trump calling Miller "a warrior for our movement and our values, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-MAGA all the way."

Miller said Davis "betrayed conservatives" by voting for red flag gun confiscation and by voting to form the Jan. 6 "witch hunt" commission.

Davis on Monday continued to pounce on Miller's comment Saturday at the Mendon rally featuring Trump when she called Friday's U.S. Supreme Court abortion decision nullifying Roe v. Wade as a “victory for white life.”

A news release from Davis said Miller had "a history of espousing extreme rhetoric," citing her Jan. 5, 2021 speech in Washington, D.C. in which she paraphrased a quote by Adolph Hitler about indoctrinating youth.

"There's a pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed," Davis said in Springfield, regarding Miller's past remarks

Miller, in an interview on WMAY on Monday, said the reaction to "white life" remark was "ridiculous."

"Not one person I talked to who was at the rally or heard it on TV thinks that I didn't stumble over saying 'right to life,'" she said. "That's all it was. I'm not a racist. I don't know what else to say."

Chicago political consultant Frank Calabrese, who has been following the Davis/Miller contest, said Monday that Miller's "white life" comment won't hurt her in the election and might actually help her.

"There is a great concern among Republicans that white culture and white people are being diminished into minority status," Calabrese said. "This is documented in polling. Miller’s comments speak directly to that concern."

While Trump's visit gives Miller momentum, Calabrese still rated the primary as "a tossup."

In other match-ups, the newly drawn 13th Congressional District race hasn't received nearly the attention of  Davis-Miller.  Nikki Budzinski of Springfield, the former chief of staff in President Joe Biden's Office of Management and Budget, faces former professional basketball player and small business owner David Palmer of Champaign in the Democratic primary.

On the Republican side, it is a four-person race between philanthropist and former small business owner Regan Deering; aerospace engineer and the former executive director of a nonprofit Matt Hausman; political journalist and Illinois Channel founder Terry Martin and attorney Jesse Reising.

Extended voting hours

The Sangamon County Clerk's office, 200 S. Ninth St., Room 101, is open until 7 p.m. Monday for in-person voting.

Mailed ballots

Mailed ballot can be returned by U.S. Postal Service but they must be postmarked by Tuesday and received no later than weeks after Tuesday.

They can also be returned by using one of the secure ballot drop boxes on the south end of the County Building at Ninth and Monroe streets or at the Sangamon County Juvenile Detention Center, 2201 S. Dirksen Parkway.

A mailed ballot also can be hand delivered to the clerk's office.

Have more questions?

For further information, call (217) 753-8683 or visit the clerk's website at www. sangamoncountyclerk.com/elections.

Contact Steven Spearie: (217) 622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Rodney Davis and Mary Miller continue to trade jabs before election