Central Illinois CongressmanTim Johnson says a former chief of staff shouldn't replace him on the November ballot after some questioned whether Johnson's planned retirement was engineered to benefit him. Jerry Clarke is among a number of Republicans who say they would like to replace Johnson. The longtime congressman announced last month he will end his re-election campaign and retire. Johnson said in a statement none of his former staff members should be considered. Spokesman Phil Bloomer said that includes Clarke. Bloomer said Johnson issued the statement because of suggestions made by some Republicans that Johnson withdrew after winning the primary to benefit Clarke. His decision means GOP county chairmen rather than voters are choosing who will run in November. Clarke did not return a telephone call seeking comment.
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