A longtime judge from Madison County is in a rough-and-tumble congressional campaign which she says, given her opponent's incumbency and what he's done with it, calls for negative advertising. Ann Callis resigned as the chief judge of Madison County to run in the 13th Congressional District, now represented by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville). The district stretches from the Metro East to take in parts of Springfield, Decatur, Bloomington and Champaign.
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She says seeing her son graduate from Cornell University and enlist in the Army as an officer inspired her to run for Congress. “I knew what would happen … I would be personally and professionally excoriated,” she said at a Springfield news conference recently. “But I saw that he isn't afraid to serve his country; I shouldn't be afraid to serve mine.” Her commercials are taking on Davis for what she says is an issue which voters are stressing to her is important: the perks of the office. One commercial reads that Davis “chopped Medicare, but not perks for himself, like first-class flights.”
Davis denies that he flies first class. Callis says she's not alleging he does. “What we said was he specifically voted against a budget that specifically banned first-class flights (for members of Congress). That was in the ad. That's what we are saying.”
What about Davis' allegations that suggest Callis does not even live in Illinois? Callis' husband lives in Kirkwood, Mo., and she, according to an ad, “signed mortgage documents saying she was a resident of Missouri.”
“Because Missouri is a dual-tenancy state,” Callis says, “I had to sign those documents,” which, she says, do not compromise the fact her legal residence is in Illinois.
As for the issues, she says she is drawn to the idea of public-private partnerships for education, given the number of colleges and universities – nine – in the district.