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Replacing Aaron Schock: Tuesday Primary To Narrow The Field

Amanda Vinicky

Voters throughout central Illinois on Tuesday will winnow down the options for who will replace Aaron Schock in Congress. Schock, a Republican, left his seat in March following a swirl of controversy, and weighty ethical questions.

Shock's resignation forced Illinois to schedule a special election. After a brief campaign, it's time for the primary. Head of the Democratic Party of Illinois, House Speaker Michael Madigan, says Democrats will be "competitive."

"They'll be an opportunity for people to choose between Democrats and Republicans, and to take into consideration everything that are before the voters when they vote, both federal and state issues," Madigan said recently.

But because of how the district is drawn, many political analysts predict the seat will remain in Republican hands. First, both parties need to select a nominee.

Republicans have a three-way contest. It's between the editor of a conservative newsletter, Mike Flynn of Quincy, Peoria-area State Senator Darin LaHood and Donald Rients of Benson. The two Democratic candidates are Springfield School Board member Adam Lopez and Quincy high school teacher Rob Mellon.

Voters who recently moved to, or within, the 18th Congressional district and need to update their voter registration can still cast a ballot in the special election; though Illinois has tried same-day registration previously, this will be the first time clerks are mandated to offer that option under a new state law.

Early voting for the primary began at the end of May. Turnout has reportedly been low throughout the large district, which branches into 19 counties.

The general election is Sept. 10.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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