Unopposed in primary, local legislators gear up for general election

Originally Posted Online: March 18, 2014, 9:07 pm
Last Updated: March 18, 2014, 11:29 pm
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By Eric Timmons,

Most local candidates for state and federal office were unopposed in Tuesday's primary Their attention now will focus on the general election campaign ahead and the Nov. 4 ballot.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, was one of those without a challenger in the primary. But she has been busily raising money for the general election where she'll face a rematch with Republican Bobby Schilling.

Mr. Schilling also was able to keep his powder dry during the primary season with no challenge to his campaign to win back the 17th District seat he lost to Rep. Bustos in 2012.

In 2012, the district race was one of the most expensive in the country, attracting almost $10 million from outside groups seeking to influence the result.

Rep. Bustos already has raised $1.2 million for her campaign. Mr. Schilling trails far behind, having raised $325,000, according to the federal election commission.

The campaign likely will focus on how to reverse the trend of stagnant or falling living standards for the middle class. Mr. Schilling believes the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, has made life for those families worse. Rep. Bustos generally supports the health care reform law and sees it as a way to increase economic security for middle class families.

At the state level, two veteran representatives have a free-run in the general election.

State Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, and state Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson, had no primary challengers and are unopposed in the general election. Rep. Moffitt has represented the 74th District since 1993. Rep. Verschoore has had the 72nd District locked down since 2003.

Elsewhere, state Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, will face Republican Jim Wozniak in the 71st District general election.

Rep. Smiddy, a former East Moline Correctional Center employee, was first elected in 2012. Mr. Wozniak is a Rock Island County Assistant State's Attorney who unsuccessfully ran for state's attorney in 2012.

Their campaign will see a tussle on government spending.

Mr. Wozniak sees ample room for cutbacks even if taxes are reduced. But Rep. Smiddy has said Illinois already has cut spending in recent years and deeper reductions will hit frontline services to the disadvantaged hard.

In the state senate, Moline firefighter Neil Anderson is challenging state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline in District 36. Mr. Anderson lost a 2012 run against Rep. Verschoore.

On Tuesday, the Republican said he wanted to offer "fresh leadership" and an alternative to the "pay to play" politics in Illinois that he thinks Sen. Jacobs represents.

Sen. Jacobs, who has served in the senate since 2005, said he wants to run a positive campaign, adding he was "disappointed" Mr. Anderson already has used a negative tone.

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1889 -- 125 years ago: A kindergarten was started in the downtown district of Rock Island with the Misses Dodie Hawes and Grace Knowlton as teachers.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Pope Pius X died in Rome.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater was named Esquire.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The J.I. Case Co. plant in Bettendorf will add from 150 to 200 employees by Jan. 1 a spokesman for the company said today. The Bettendorf Works today had a payroll of 1,350, but an increased production schedule will require additional people.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illowa Council Boy Scouts of America reached and passed its campaign goal in a drive that began 14 months ago by raising more than $2.2 million for the expansion of Loud Thunder Reservation near Andalusia.

(More History)