Marron considers possible run for Shimkus' seat in Congress

State Rep. Mike Marron (R-Fithian), with his family by his side, discusses his plans to explore whether to run for the U.S. House seat currently held by John Shimkus (R-Collinsville). Shimkus said he will talk about possibly running with residents of the 15th Congressional District that Shimkus represents.

DANVILLE — Standing two blocks from where he was sworn in a year ago as state representative of the 104th District, Republican Mike Marron announced a possible new political direction Tuesday — a run for Congress.

“Certainly serving in Springfield has been one of my most humbling honors, and giving up that seat is something I don’t take lightly,” said Marron, who was joined by his wife, daughter, father and supporters in front of the Vermilion County Administration building, where he served as county board chairman.

Tuesday’s event came less than a week after 12-term U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, announced plans to vacate his seat in Washington, D.C., next year. Among those on hand in downtown Danville: former state Rep. Chad Hays, whose decision to step away from Springfield led to Marron’s appointment a year ago.

Marron, who was then elected the 104th’s state representative last November, said he owes it to his family, the voters in his current district and those in the 15th to take the next several weeks to explore whether he should officially file as a candidate in late November.

He said that decision will be made by traveling throughout the 15th Congressional district and talking with people, as well as weighing the good he could do in the state capital with the possibilities in the nation’s capital.

“Certainly the environment in Springfield is very challenging,” Marron said, referring to being in the Republican minority.

In his remarks Tuesday, he mentioned the Coal Ash Prevention Act as an accomplishment. He also cited the struggles — fighting against the minimum wage increase, the “massive” tax hike and the nation’s “most liberal expansion” of abortion — adding that true leaders know when to compromise and when to stand up and engage on issues.

Marron said Shimkus knew when to do both, calling his pending departure from Congress a huge loss that will leave “big shoes” to fill. Marron said he chose to announce the formation of his exploratory committee in front of the former federal building that is now the county’s administration headquarters, because it was his greatest accomplishment so far in public service and would not have happened without the help of Shimkus. A Fithian resident, farmer and longtime rodeo competitor, Marron said he has had congressional aspirations since first entering local politics.

“I’m really excited about the process and look forward to getting out and talking to people,” he said. “I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling in the next few weeks.”

The district he would serve if elected Shimkus’ replacement includes parts of Champaign and Ford counties and all of Vermilion, Douglas, Coles and Edgar counties, and extends into southern Illinois.

The filing period for candidates for the March 17 primary begins Nov. 25 and ends Dec. 2.

One Democrat, John Hursey, has said he also plans to run next year in the 15th, a historically Republican district.

tcrane@news-gazette.com