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Travis Weaver defeats Rep. Mark Luft in 93rd District GOP primary

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Travis Weaver via Facebook
Travis Weaver

Travis Weaver of Edwards is likely to become the representative for the new 93rd state House district.

Weaver defeated state Rep. Mark Luft (R-Pekin), who was running for a second House term in the new district.

Weaver said the Central Illinois area has always been home, and he wants to represent the community well.

“I just really started to feel strongly that if this is the place I want to raise my kids, then it’s really time to get people to lead and step up to right the ship,” Weaver said.

No Democrats have announced a run in the the heavily conservative district that includes parts of Tazewell, Peoria, Stark, Fulton, Knox, and Henry counties.

Weaver, a former Caterpillar employee from Edwards, is the son of former state Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria).

"Folks across this district want a representative who is true to his word and is prepared to lead our state in the right direction. I look forward to working with business owners, farmers, parents, teachers, police, and hard-working citizens who are so ready for positive, conservative reform," said Weaver in a statement declaring his victory.

Weaver later said that focusing on education will be one of his largest priorities if he officially becomes the 93rd state district House representative.

"Illinois has a high school graduation rate that trails all of our neighboring states. Education’s really where my passion lies. I substitute teach at Brimfield High School. I tutor GED students, so that’s kind of why I got into this in the first place," Weaver said.

Coming from a small town himself, Weaver said he felt encouraged to run in the 93rd district race because he has similar backgrounds, beliefs and values compared to many of the towns in the 93rd district. Weaver said as Illinois approaches the general election, he's focused on being a "high character person within the district."

"To me, that means things like spending time in classrooms, helping small businesses grow, treating people with respect, doing things the right way, just really establishing myself as somebody who is not only ready to lead on policy questions, but is just also somebody who is ready to lead within the community,” Weaver said.

Weaver continued, "I always say when I go down to Springfield, there’s an R next to my name because they put it there. But when I’m back in my district, I’m just a guy who cares about his community and wants to see people grow. Whether somebody voted for me or not, whether they wish me good luck or not, it really doesn’t matter. My whole focus is helping everybody in the district. There’s no Rs or Ds when it comes to constituent service and serving people, and that’s really what I’m excited to do.”

Luft, the current representative of the 91st District, is the son of former Democratic state Sen. Richard Luft of Pekin.

"Unfortunately, we came up short this election cycle," said Luft in a Facebook post. "Although I won’t be serving in the General Assembly next year, I will continue to serve my community, district, and state."

Luft remains mayor of Pekin, a position he's held since 2019.

The battle between the current scions of the two political dynasties played out as part of a proxy war between two powerful Illinois Republican factions aiming to control the party. GOP gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Darren Bailey endorsed Weaver, while House Minority Leader Jim Durkin backed Luft's candidacy.

Durkin also backed Brett Nicklaus, the challenger to state Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) after Stoller contributed to Weaver's campaign. Stoller was appointed to the elder Weaver's Senate seat.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.
Jordan Mead is a reporting intern at WCBU. She joined the station in 2021.