TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Some Taylorville city leaders said they are shocked and upset by Tuesday’s election results after hometown favorite Rodney Davis lost in the primary.
The race for the newly-drawn 15th congressional district was one that many people were keeping a close eye on. It pitted two incumbents against each other: Davis against Mary Miller. With the backing of former President Donald Trump, Miller defeated Davis, who has conceded.
People in Taylorville are now wondering what will happen moving forward. They felt like Davis had their best interest in mind and knew he was a person they could call.
“I got a gut punch when I saw last night that he lost,” said Police Chief Dwayne Wheeler. “He’s done so much for the city of Taylorville. Even though he is a native of Taylorville, he’s just a good man.”
Davis has represented the 13th district, including his hometown of Taylorville, since 2013.
“I could call Rodney on the phone,” said Mayor Bruce Barry. “I had his personal cell phone number and any time he was back in town, he’d usually stop in.”
Barry said that during his tenure, Davis advocated for federal money to pay for needed projects in the city. The latest project: redoing Main Street.
“We’re in the final stages of getting a $2.5 million grant and I just hope he’ll be able to carry us through before he gets ousted from the election,” Barry said.
On top of helping restore the community, Davis has been an active advocate for law enforcement. Wheeler said he could always count on Davis.
“I can’t say enough about of he’s done for Christian County and also for the police department,” Wheeler said. “The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed him, and that means a lot.”
While both Barry and Wheeler are sad to see Davis go, both agreed they are looking forward to establishing a relationship with Miller.
“It was a race, this is politics, this is what happens,” Wheeler said. “I congratulate her for winning. It would be nice to get to know her if she can make it down this way.”
“I wish her all the luck, I hope she comes back, I would to love to meet her if she would set up a meeting,” Barry said. “Even though she is a congresswoman, she’s got a lot bigger issues than streets and roads in this area. It’s something we depend on federal funding for along with state funding.”
Not everyone in Taylorville shares Barry and Wheeler’s sentiments about Davis being voted out. One voter said he voted for Miller because he did not believe Davis was conservative enough for him.
We reached out to Davis to ask what is next for him. He was not available for comment.