Mary Miller on Tuesday won the Republican nomination to seek the 15th District seat in the U.S. Congress, according to unofficial results. With 702 of 821 precincts counted, she collected 58 percent of the vote percent of the vote and was declared the winner by the Associated Press over three other candidates.
Kerry Wolff of Altamont had 12.6 percent of the GOP vote. Darren Duncan had 21.6 percent; Chuck Ellington had 7.9 percent.
Erika Weaver was nominated in the race for the Democratic nomination with 52 percent percent of the vote over three other candidates: Kevin Gaither with 22.7 percent, Craig Morton with 18.8 percent, and John Hursey with 6.5 percent.
Miller will face Weaver in the November general election to replace U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, who is not seeking another term.
Meanwhile, a former Chicago-area sheriff emerged from a crowded Republican field to advance to mount a long-shot challenge against Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.
Mark Curran, who had perhaps the most name recognition of all the candidates, said he ran because he believes the political climate has changed and Durbin is vulnerable.
“He has neglected Illinois and nobody has been able to land a punch,” Curran told The Associated Press. “But having been a career prosecutor and the longest-serving sheriff in Lake County, I know how to throw a punch. I’m credible.”
Miller, 60, lives in Oakland. She has a BS in Business Management from Eastern Illinois University and a degree in Elementary Education, also from EIU. She is married to Chris Miller, and they have seven children and 16 grandchildren.
“The people in Illinois-15 are concerned about our border security,” she told the Effingham Daily NEws during the campaign. “People are worried about the cost of illegal immigration and the safety of our communities. We must secure our borders and stop the flow of illegal immigrants into our country. This must be done through a physical wall, as well as technology.
“We need to make border security a priority by hiring more border patrol agents. I would also support increasing fines for companies that hire people here illegally. Companies can avoid these fines by using E-Verify.
“We do not have the resources to blindly accept everyone who wants to come to this country. No one objects to legal immigration. Immigration when done legally is just fine. What I object to is people who do not follow the law and try to enter our country illegally.
“My son-in-law is an immigrant. He is a doctor who tried to get here legally but was not able to the first time around. Eventually, he did get here through legal immigration. Sanctioning illegal immigration is not fair to people like my son-in-law who followed the law and did things the right way.”
Weaver, 46, lives in Mattoon. The Public Defender in Coles County, she serves on the Mattoon Board of Education, and is a mom of three young adults.
“I am an alumnae of Lake Land College, and a two-time alumnae of Eastern Illinois University having earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Sports & Recreation and a Master of Science in College Student Affairs,” she told the EDN during the campaign. “I earned a Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. I entered this race because I want every family to have the opportunity to create and define their American Dream, but without the hardships I endured.
“My campaign reflects and embodies my life, work and heart for service. I promise to be a transparent and ethical leader. I offer integrity and accountability to the people of the 15th District. My work ethic is unparalleled and unchanging.”