State Sen. Frerichs to Run for Re-Election

June 14, 2011

State Senator Mike Frerichs (D- Champaign) says he has decided against a run for the re-drawn 13th Congressional District against incumbent Congressman Tim Johnson (R-Urbana).

Frerichs said it would interfere too much on time with his young daughter. But he does say his party has a good chance of picking up the Congressional seat, where Johnson has been lumped into a largely unfamiliar territory near St. Louis.

"I think the 13th Congressional District is largely unrepresented by an incumbent," Frerichs said. "I think it will be a good year for Democrats to run. In my meetings with folks in Washington, DC, I think they could answer all my questions except how one can serve as a good congressman and spend enough time with their family."

Frerichs said he is proud of reforms made to areas like education and worker's compensation, but he said many challenges await him, such as current changes to group health insurance for state workers.

His current 52nd Senate District did not change much in the redistricting map approved by Governor Pat Quinn, but Frerichs said it should be less confusing to constituents now that it covers nearly all of Champaign.

Meanwhile, the first Republican candidate has announced a run for Frerichs' seat.

Political Activist John Bambenek said a lot of incumbent state lawmakers are not leading with courage on issues like the budget and worker's compensation. Bambenek added that he is worried about their impact on future generations.

"And this issue is what major businesses like Caterpillar, Boeing, and manufacturing and industrial industries say is the biggest issue for them of the business climate in Illinois that needs (to be) addressed," Bambenek explained. "This is the biggest thing driving businesses out of the state."

Bambanek says he's spoken with two other possible Republican candidates for the office: Al Reynolds, who lost to Frerichs last year, and Champaign County Board member Al Nudo. "They have to make their decision about whether they're moving forward," said Bambanek. "They have their stories to tell, I think mine is more compelling."

He said this time around, any successful candidate will have to spend about $1.5 million in order to compete, but believes the resources will be available. Bambenek unsuccessfully ran for the Champaign Unit 4 School Board in 2007.

Story source: WILL