WIUM Tristates Public Radio

LaHood and Mellon Advance to General Election

Jul 8, 2015

Primary election results show Illinois State Senator Darin LaHood of Peoria easily won the Republican nomination in the race to fill the vacant congressional seat for the 18th district. Democratic party voters chose high school teacher Robert Mellon of Quincy by a wide margin to be their party's nominee. 

The general election is scheduled for September 10.

The seat had been held by Republican Aaron Schock, who resigned in disgrace in March amid mounting scrutiny over his political spending.

Rob Mellon pictured left and Darin LaHood pictured right
Credit Peoria Public Radio

LaHood told the Associated Press he has spent most of his campaign talking about his record as a state senator and former prosecutor, not his famous father Ray LaHood, who once held the congressional seat and later served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation. 

Darin LaHood said his team hit the ground running early on and didn't take anything for granted.

LaHood is backed by the state GOP and more money than the other candidates. But one of his two GOP opponents, conservative writer Michael Flynn, argued voters were tired of party politics, particularly after the Schock scandal.

Rob Mellon bested Springfield school board member Adam Lopez after a campaign season in which both largely focused on issues affecting the middle class. Mellon told the AP that his experiences as a veteran and a teacher equip him to understand foreign and domestic policy.

However, the road to the general election will be difficult for any Democrat. The central Illinois district is largely Republican. Still, Democrats contend they have a chance because of frustration over the Schock scandal.