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A member of the Republican leadership team in the Illinois House could be running statewide in 2022.
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who serves as deputy minority leader, says he’s been encouraged by colleagues and party members from around the state to launch a campaign. He says an effort to be the nominee for U.S. Senate or any Illinois constitutional office would have to get moving by August of this year.
“I think that there are some really significant issues that have come up with one-party control,” Demmer said. “We need to have a balance in government. We need to have both sides who are able to keep each other responsible and keep each other accountable. I think we've seen a breakdown of some of that with one-party control across the state.”
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The 34-year-old has represented the 90th House District since 2013, which includes Byron and Rochelle in northern Illinois. He is one of the lead Republican negotiators on state budget matters and recently served on the special committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan. He works as director of innovation and strategy at Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital.
Demmer says he’s speaking with family and colleagues about the possibilities and has not yet decided on which office he might turn his attention.
“I'm looking at where I think I might be able to make a difference, where I might be able to bring a different perspective,” Demmer said. “I can give Illinoisans the opportunity to say, ‘We've seen what the Illinois Democratic Party has done to the state of Illinois, and we think it's time for a little different direction to take hold.’”
In Illinois, Democrats have held the office of Secretary of State since 1999 and Attorney General since 2003. The party also currently controls the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, and Comptroller, as well as both U.S. Senate seats.
“While there was a limited example of Republicans winning statewide in recent years, I think that also shows that we need to have people who are going to run for those positions with a new message, with a new voice, and provide people with a meaningful choice,” Demmer said.
All state constitutional offices as well as the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Tammy Duckworth will be on the ballot in the next cycle.
“I think it's an opportunity for the Republican party to put together a strong statewide slate and show people that there is an alternative to Democratic one-party rule,” Demmer said.