The process of selecting a new Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District began Monday. It’ll start with a conference call involving the Republican chairmen in the 14 affected counties, headed by state Republican chairman Pat Brady.
“This is just the initial meeting to set our agenda for the future, try to get some kind of time line, some ground rules on how we want to do it, but we want everybody’s input, and we want it to be open, fair and transparent for everyone,” he said in a conference call with reporters. He did not know how long it will take to select a new nominee. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana, pictured) announced last week that he’s withdrawing from his re-election bid. The party leaders can’t officially make a move until Johnson is formally declared the winner of the primary. That’s supposed to happen April 20.
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Brady says he wants candidates to be carefully evaluated. He says he doesn’t have a horse in the race, and he wants a clean process, with any wheeling and dealing accountable to the public. The decision will be made by the Republican county chairman, with the vote weighted on the basis of how many Republican primary ballots were pulled in the 13th District in their counties in last month’s primary. Johnson’s chief of staff, Jerry Clarke, says he wants the nomination. State Rep. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) says he’d like to be considered too. Brady says he expects “many” to step forward.