Rep. Mary Miller delivers stinging defeat to Rep. Rodney Davis in GOP 15th Congressional race

·3 min read

In one of the most hotly contested and nationally watched Congressional races, U.S. Rep. Mary Miller defeated fellow incumbent and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis in the Republican primary in the 15th District in Illinois.

With 95% of the estimated vote counted, Miller had 57% of the vote to Davis' 43%.

Miller had the backing of former President Donald Trump, including a high-profile visit to the Quincy area this past weekend.

Davis, 52, represented the 13th district for five terms.

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

Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield, said Davis and Miller represented a significant contrast in styles.

"Trump gets credit," Redfield said. "Obviously, the voters in that district were looking for somebody who was pro-Trump."

The newly drawn and largely rural district went 68% for Trump in 2020.

Miller did not address the media Tuesday night, but in an email to supporters she said the win "shows the strength and power of President Trump’s endorsement.

"People in this country are waking up. The left may be 'woke,' but conservatives are 'awake.'"

Davis, in a released statement, said it was "the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Illinois."

Illinois primary election results: Get the latest updates here

Davis watched the results at home with his family in Taylorville and did not return later Tuesday to address the media.

U. S. Rep. Rodney Davis, left, answers reporters' questions with state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, at the Knights of Columbus hall in Taylorville earlier Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Davis, the five-term congressman from Taylorville, lost to U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, in the 15th District Republican primary.
U. S. Rep. Rodney Davis, left, answers reporters' questions with state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, at the Knights of Columbus hall in Taylorville earlier Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Davis, the five-term congressman from Taylorville, lost to U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, in the 15th District Republican primary.

Davis phoned Miller to congratulate her.

Late last year, Davis rebuffed running for governor, instead opting to again run for Congress in the newly drawn district that includes parts of 35 counties and extends from the Iowa to the Missouri to the Indiana borders, including part of Sangamon County.

Miller, a cattle farmer from Oakland seeking her second term, had the endorsement of Trump when she launched her campaign on New Year's Day.

During his visit to Mendon over the weekend, Trump called Miller "a warrior for our movement and our values, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-MAGA (Make America Great Again) all the way."

Miller called herself "a proud Trump Republican" while castigating Davis as "a Republican in name only," or RINO.

She stirred controversy during then rally when she called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade a “victory for white life.” Miller's campaign said she misspoke and intended to say "a victory for Right to Life."

Miller thanked Trump for the ruling because he appointed three conservative justices to the bench.

Davis had his own history with Trump, Davis voting for Trump's policies 89% of the time, according to the website FiveThirtyEight.

Davis also co-chaired Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in Illinois, although four years earlier he disavowed Trump because of crude comments Trump made about a married woman he tried to seduce. The comments were made in 2005 but came to light less than a month before the election.

Davis and Miller tussled over amnesty regarding immigration, defunding the military, the Jan. 6 commission and gun rights.

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

"Rodney Davis was the architect of the red flag laws," Miller told the Quincy crowd. "He has led the gun control efforts since 2019."

During the campaign, both tried to assert their conservatism, with Davis brandishing Miller as a "a fake conservative" because she refused to answer questions from the media.

Paul Lange
Paul Lange

Davis labeled Miller "a carpetbagger," noting her Coles County residence was drawn into a district in southern Illinois where incumbent Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, lives. Bost, a former Illinois legislator, has represented the 12th District in Congress 2014.

Davis voted to approve the counting of electoral votes making Joe Biden the president. Miller voted to reject certified electors on Jan. 6.

Miller will face Paul Lange, a Democratic precinct committeeman from Quincy, in the Nov. 8 general election.

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

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Mary Miller beats Rodney Davis in IL GOP 15th Congressional primary