U of I Professor Announces Run Against GOP's Rodney Davis | WGLT

U of I Professor Announces Run Against GOP's Rodney Davis

Aug 25, 2017

A fifth Democrat has announced plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis next year.

Jonathan Ebel of Urbana is a religion professor at the University of Illinois. He’s never run for office before but says he was drawn to the race because the “government is not working for the people.” Too many elected officials, he said, are serving large corporations and donors—and not their constituents.

“I saw a need,” Ebel said. “And that need is for people with a good morale compass and a good head on their shoulders and no connections like the ones that are warping Congress to get involved.”

One of Ebel’s key issues is health care. He supports a single-payer system—one of many progressive positions he’d stake out.

“It’s well past time that we go about getting university health care,” Ebel said on GLT’s Sound Ideas.

Davis, a Taylorville Republican, has represented the 13th Congressional District since 2013.

Ebel says Davis is particularly vulnerable on the health care issue. Davis supported a plan that fizzled in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare. Davis has said that he believes Obamacare is “collapsing.”

“If that’s not a vulnerability, I don’t know what it is,” Ebel said of Davis’ position. “That to me is a morally reprehensible position to stake out.”

The 13th District race is certain to attract big, out-of-state money from the Democratic and Republican parties. Ebel expressed doubt that any Democrat will be able to outraise Davis and his supporters.

“We aren’t going to be able to outraise them, but we can outsmart them and out hustle them, and that’s what I plan to do,” said Ebel, also a Navy veteran.

The sprawling 13th District stretches from Bloomington-Normal all the way south to Edwardsville, covering many rural, Republican-leaning areas. It includes parts or all of 14 counties.

There are at least four other Democrats planning to run in March’s primary:

  • Former Democratic fundraiser Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield
  • Dr. David Gill of Bloomington
  • University High School teacher Benjamin Webb
  • Lawyer Erik Jones, former Illinois assistant attorney general

You can also listen to GLT's full interview with Ebel:

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.