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Junius Rodriguez Tosses Hat In The Ring for 18th District Congressional Seat

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

A Democratic congressional candidate from Illinois who lost in 2016 is running again.

Eureka College history professor Junius Rodriguez made his formal announcement, in front of a sparse crowd of seven people in Peoria Wed.

Junius Rodriguez

Rodriguez says his loss to the Republican candidate, 18th District Rep. Darin LaHood, was a lesson on campaigning. He ran with a self-funded campaign of about $25,000 and a staff of four.

“I know that my opponent will likely have a war chest much greater than anything that I can amass in this campaign,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t deny that. But what’s missing on the other side, are the ideas.”

Rodriguez says he’s running again in-part because he wants to see a more bipartisan conversations on how the health care system can be improved. He says he also wants to represent the working and middle class.

“You know the medical community operates on the premise ‘do no harm,’” Rodriguez said. “I think the political community should try to live by the same rule, when they’re dealing with the issue of healthcare. Do no harm.”

Rodriguez says he earned more votes than most other democratic challengers in the deep red district. Incumbent Congressman Darin LaHood won that race by more than 70 percent. LaHood initially won the seat in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Aaron Schock.

Rodriguez is traveling the rest of the district with his announcement this week. He has stops in Springfield, Bloomington, Macomb and Quincy.