“Betsy Dirksen Londrigan came within one point of unseating Congressman Davis in 2018, and it is clear central Illinoisans are ready for a change. For Betsy, the importance of access to affordable, quality health care is personal and she will fight so that families don’t have to decide between paying for their medicine and putting food on the table,” DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos said. “Betsy will be the voice that central Illinoisans need in Congress and I look forward to working with her as a partner serving central Illinois in 2021.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Courtney Rice DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: March 17, 2020
Subject: The Case Against Rodney Davis
Congressman Rodney Davis went to the White House lawn to celebrate Republican efforts to gut protections for pre-existing conditions, impose an age tax, and make health care less accessible and more expensive for Illinoisans in the 13th District. It was that moment that Betsy Dirksen Londrigan decided to run for Congress to be a voice for middle-class families who weren’t being served by Davis’ Washington-first, special interests-first agenda.
A true creature of the swamp – Davis has been involved in politics since the mid-1990s, when he graduated college – Congressman Rodney Davis has abandoned his constituents in favor of the Washington special interests that bankroll his campaign. Having led the charge in favor of more dark money influence in our politics and having taken more than $2.7 million from corporate PACs over the course of his career, it’s no wonder Davis has voted to gut access to affordable health care and for a tax plan that benefits big special interests at the expense of the middle-class.
This rematch between career politician Rodney Davis and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will be one to watch. Dirksen Londrigan came within one point of winning this seat in 2018 and is posed for victory in November thanks to anticipated higher youth turnout, a fundraising advantage, and strong ties to the district.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
WATCH: Illinois Residents Push Congressman Rodney Davis to Lower Prescription Drug Prices. [WICS, 01/10/20]
HEADLINE: Local Organizations Sing Carols For Davis To Vote On Prescription Bill. [WCCU, 12/11/19]
TOSS-UP RATING: “This race is already engaged: Democrats are hammering Davis for accepting an upgrade to fly first class during the government shutdown, taking corporate PAC checks and telling a Washington Post reporter “I don’t see what the big deal is, frankly” regarding President Trump’s proposed G-7 summit at Doral (Trump carried this seat by just five points in 2016). Davis hopes to be able to tie Londrigan to a more liberal nominee. It’s a Toss Up.” [Cook Political Report, 10/25/19]
HEADLINE: Londrigan Fourth Quarter Fundraising Outpaces Davis. [State Journal-Register, 02/08/20]
“It is just one of six congressional districts in the country where a Democratic challenger raised more money than an incumbent Republican in the fourth quarter of 2019.”
HEADLINE: Passenger Confronts GOP Congressman Over Flying First Class During Shutdown. [HuffPost, 01/22/19]
HEADLINE: “Once A Skeptic, Congressman Rodney Davis Embraces Trump.” [NPR Illinois, 11/14/19]
Rodney Davis: A Bought-and-Paid-For Career Politician Who Looks Out For Himself Rather Than His Constituents
DAVIS’ HEALTH CARE RECORD MAKES ILLINOISANS SICK
Ever since Congressman Rodney Davis was elected to Congress, he’s been attempting to take away Illinoisans’ access to affordable health care. But once Davis realized the issue was politically perilous for him, he began misleading voters in the 13th about his record.
Here are the facts: Davis voted to gut protections and access to affordable care by voting 11 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees young people can stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26 and that people with pre-existing conditions like asthma or getting pregnant won’t be charged more or kicked off their insurance. Despite the law’s growing popularity, Davis voted against defending the Affordable Care Act in court as recently as last year. Davis also voted for the Republican’s failed 2017 health care repeal bill – calling it “must-pass legislation.” This bill would have gutted protections for 282,500 Illinoisans in the 13th District with pre-existing conditions, imposed an age tax, and made health care less accessible and more expensive for Illinoisans. 700,000 Illinoisans who rely on Medicaid would also be at risk of losing their health care coverage.
But once Davis realized his votes were politically untenable, he began misleading Illinoisans about his record. Davis was called out by independent fact checkers for “misleading voters” about his record on health care, even after being fact checked on their claims:
Davis has “been put on notice that [he is] peddling a falsehood — and politicians who care about their reputation should acknowledge they made a mistake and offer an apology. Instead, [he] apparently believe[s] it is politically advantageous to continue to deceive the voters in [his] district.”
Now Davis is taking his attacks on his constituents’ health care one step further, voting against commonsense, bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs. As a reminder: voters consistently rank the high cost of medicine as their top concern.
In sharp contrast, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan understands the turmoil families face when confronted with an unexpected illness. When her son was 12, he faced an illness that confined him to the hospital for one month where he was read his last rites twice. They left with a healthy son, but piles of medical bills. That’s why she’s running: to make sure every family has access to affordable, life-saving care that her family received and to lower the cost of prescription drugs so that voters in the 13th don’t have to decide between paying for their medicine and putting food on the table.
RODNEY DAVIS PUTS SPECIAL INTERESTS FIRST
As a career politician, Congressman Rodney Davis has only ever prioritized one constituency: himself. Over the course of his career, Davis has taken significant amounts of money from Washington special interests, to tune of $2.8 million, padding his campaign coffers as he does their bidding in DC.
Whether it’s voting for the GOP tax bill that served as a giveaway to big corporations and the wealthiest few at the expense of the middle class or leading the charge against legislation that supported an end to the corrupting influence of dark money in politics, Davis has proven time and again that he’d rather put the interests of his financial backers ahead of voters in the 13th District.
Unlike Davis, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has pledged not to take corporate PAC money because she’s running to represent the people of central Illinois – and, unlike Rodney Davis, her vote can’t be bought.
A CREATURE OF THE SWAMP: THE ORIGIN STORY OF RODNEY DAVIS
Rodney Davis is the epitome of a career politician. He has never held a non-political job and has been running for office for more than 20 years, starting with his failed candidacy for the Illinois State House in 1996. After interning in then-Illinois Secretary of State George Ryan’s office and working on his campaign, running and losing for the Mayor of Taylorville, and working in former Congressman John Shimkus’ office and campaigns, Davis ran for Congress himself, cementing his own place as a creature of the swamp.
But after years in Congress, Davis has taken his swampiness to new heights, flying first class after voting against funding the government during the most recent shutdown. And that fancy ticket wasn’t the first time Davis exploited the perks of being in Congress. It’s clear that Davis, who voted for the GOP tax bill that handed big corporations and billionaires a trillion-dollar tax cut at the expense of hardworking families, is more comfortable in first-class than with the middle-class.
Path to Victory
Betsy Dirksen Londrigan came within one point – a mere 2,058 votes – of unseating Congressman Rodney Davis in 2018 and it will not take a dramatic shift in the electorate to win this district in November. Located in central Illinois, this district has the second-highest percentage of college students nationwide and is home to both Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the latter of which has a powerful and engaged Democratic base. Dirksen Londrigan, who has deep roots in the district, outraised Davis in the fourth quarter of 2019 and surpassed him in cash-on-hand total.
The district supported President Obama in 2008 with 55.6% of the vote. In 2016, President Trump won the 13th by just five points, while Senator Tammy Duckworth outperformed Clinton by more than six points to carry nearly 50% of the vote in the district.
In Champaign County, where Dirksen Londrigan won 69% of the vote last cycle, voter registration is up substantially from 2018. In that year, Champaign County made up 20.6% of the district but, as of March 2020, the county’s residents make up 21.1% of total registrants districtwide, an increase of 0.5%. More than a third (39.8%) of all new registrants in the district come from Champaign County.
To win this seat, Dirksen Londrigan needs to maintain her commanding lead in Champaign County, noting that there will likely be an increase in turnout among young voters thanks to the presidential election.