One of the key races for Illinois Republicans in the March 15th primary will be for Congress in the 17th District. Illinois Public Radio's Herb Trix reports.
Democrat Cheri Bustos from East Moline was first elected in 2012, when she defeated one term republican, and Tea Party member, Bobby Schilling. Two years later, in a rematch, she defeated Schilling again. Both republicans say they originally got in the race when they worried no one else would oppose her. Jack Baccarossa from Milan is retired after working at the Rock Island Arsenal as a mechanical engineer, while Patrick Harlan who lives in Galesburg is still working, as a truck driver.
Baccarossa has volunteered for various republican candidates in the Quad Cities area, and once served on a school board. And not surprisingly, he wants to protect the Rock Island Arsenal, and its thousands of jobs. He also thinks the former Savanna Army Depot could be put to better use - thousands of currently un-used acres could host an ethanol plant, or even a nuclear power plant. Harlan joined the Knox County Tea Party in 2013, and is now its president. Now delivering fuel for Casey’s General Stores in Illinois, he calls himself “a typical blue collar working class man.” In the past, he belonged to two national labor unions while working for two major employers in Galesburg. And on his website, Harlan says “I have lost my home during hard times and I lost all hope that things will get better. I am tired of politics keeping good hard working families down.”