EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – One of the tightest congressional races in the upcoming elections is in the St. Louis area. It’s the fight for Illinois’ 13th District seat, which stretches from Edwardsville to Champaign.
In our continuing series of candidate profiles leading up to the November elections, FOX 2 caught up Republican incumbent Rodney Davis.
Two years ago, Davis he was reelected to a fourth term by a margin of less than one percent over his Democratic opponent Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan.
Two years later, it’s the same two squaring off. The race is considered a toss-up.
“I’m the 13th most bipartisan member of Congress out of 435,” Davis said.
The Republican cited his bipartisanship as a prime reason why he deserved reelection to a fifth term in the House of Representatives. He beat Dirksen-Londrigan by fewer than 2,100 votes last time.
She continually points to his support for a repeal of Obamacare. He says he wants to fix its shortcomings while protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions.
“We can all agree we’ve got to protect pre-existing condition coverage. My wife fought cancer 21 years ago. She has a genetic form of cancer. My kids could get it,” Davis said.
The 50-year-old father of three from Taylorville (about 90 miles northeast of St. Louis) was at Blackburn College in Carlinville on Thursday, touting federal grants that will give about 4,000 students in poorer rural areas, as well as access to distance learning, he said.
Davis pointed to his recent bill allowing employers to help pay down their employees’ student debt.
“I don’t always look to get the headlines. I don’t take on the issues that are in the 24-hour news cycle,” Davis said.
The congressman made news earlier this summer after testing positive for COVID-19. He did not become sick, though.
The congressman donated plasma last month to help medical researchers learn more about the virus and, hopefully, help treat those suffering from COVID symptoms.
Davis also survived a 2017 mass shooting in which a man from Belleville opened fire on Republicans at a practice for an upcoming congressional baseball game.
“I learned a lot about what courage is. I also learned a lot about what the end result of this hate, incivility, and vitriol can lead to,” Davis said.
The congressman said he supports law enforcement, calling the two Capitol police officers who ran toward the gunfire and took out the gunman that day his heroes for life.