Republican U.S. Congressman Tim Johnson of Urbana is retiring at the end of his sixth term, and that has shocked party leaders in his home in McLean County. Johnson's surprise departure leaves Republican party officials scrambling to appoint a replacement to run against Democrat David Gill in November in the new 13th District. Johnson had picked up portions of the River Bend in recent months formerly represented by John Shimkus due to the redistricting process.
The selection will be made by the county GOP chairmen in the congressional district. Party Chairman John Parrott says he's already contacted State Senator Bill Brady about a possible bid and adds that State Representative Dan Brady would also make a strong candidate. Johnson says he is 66 years old and it is time to give his family more of his attention.
Johnson began his long career in public service by winning a seat on the Urbana City Council in 1971. He was also a member of the Illinois House until his election to the U.S. Congress a little over a decade ago.