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Rodney Davis is a Republican Party insider who has spent his entire life in politics and out of the real world. Davis’ career experience consists of working for former Illinois Secretary of State George Ryan, prior to Ryan’s conviction for tax fraud, then working for Congressman John Shimkus as both a Congressional and campaign aide, and finally serving as Executive Director of the Illinois Republican Party. Between these jobs, Davis has found time to unsuccessfully run for the Illinois State House and for Mayor of Taylorville. While his experience may not seem impressive, Davis has built considerable political cache, which he used when Republican Party insiders nominated him for Congress in 2012 behind closed doors.
Party Insider Without Real World Experience
WORKED FOR CONVICTED SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE RYAN
Davis Was Managerial Assistant In The Office Of Illinois Secretary Of State George Ryan. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Davis is campaigning while on leave from his job as a managerial assistant in the office of Illinois Secretary of State George Ryan.” [St. Louis PostDispatch, 10/31/96] Davis Was One Of Illinois Secretary Of State George Ryan’s County Coordinators In The 1994 Election. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Davis was one of Ryan’s county coordinators in the 1994 election. He says he has knocked on just about every door in the district to get to know the residents’ concerns and to get out his message. ‘People in the beginning didn’t give me much of a chance,’ he said. ‘Now, some of the same people are calling to volunteer and display bumper stickers and signs and give financial support.’” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/31/96] • Former Illinois Secretary Of State George Ryan Was Found Guilty Of 18 Felony Charges Including Racketeering And Tax Fraud. According to The New York Times, “After more than five months of complex testimony and five weeks of still more tangled deliberations, a jury found Mr. Ryan, a Republican, guilty of all 18 felony charges against him, including racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud and making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” [The New York Times, 4/18/2006] Ryan Was Charged With Accepting Cash And Political Favors During His Time As Secretary Of State. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Ryan, 71, faces 22 counts of racketeering, mail and tax fraud and lying to federal agents. The charges could add up to 95 years in prison for a man whose legacy as he left office in 2003 was clearing Death Row with a blanket
commutation for 160 condemned inmates. Federal prosecutors contend that Mr. Ryan and his relatives received cash, luxury vacations and other gifts worth at least $167,000 in exchange for state contracts and political favors in the dozen years in which he was governor or secretary of state.” [The New York Times, 9/20/2005]
Davis Unsuccessfully Ran For The Illinois House Of Representatives Against Democrat Gary Hannig. According to The State Journal- Register, “Davis joined Shimkus’ staff in 1997, as Shimkus entered Congress and just after Davis lost a race for the Illinois House to Democrat GARY HANNIG, D-Litchfield, who is now state transportation secretary.” [The State Journal- Register, 4/10/11] Davis Unsuccessfully Ran For Mayor Of Taylorville Against Incumbent Jim Montgomery Jr. According to The State Journal-Register Editorial, “U.S. Rep. JOHN SHIMKUS may have been a political novice a few years back, but he’s definitely got down the nuts and bolts now. In a letter sent to his donor base, Shimkus urges voters to back two people who work for him in their contests April 3. RODNEY DAVIS, projects and grants director for Shimkus, is running for mayor of Taylorville, while MARY ELLEN MADONIA, his campaign treasurer and former finance director, is running for Lincoln Land Community College trustee… Davis is running against incumbent Taylorville Mayor JIM MONTGOMERY JR. and Ald. TERRY WRIGHT. Montgomery is an administrative assistant to state Rep. GARY HANNIG, D-Litchfield. Davis lost to Hannig for state representative, by a 57-43 margin, in 1996, but he won Taylorville and Christian County in that race.” [The State Journal-Register Editorial, 3/22/01]
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE STATE GOP IN ILLINOIS.
Davis Was Acting Executive Director Of The State GOP In Illinois. According to The State Journal- Register, “RODNEY DAVIS of Taylorville, acting executive director of the state GOP, called the current process ‘closed,’ because each presidential campaign picks its own slates of candidates in each congressional district. He also says it’s ‘onerous,’ because, in part, it can let Democrats get involved by objecting to nominating signatures for GOP candidates. There’s also clearly a lot of organizational work involved to get so many people to collect hundreds of signatures each and get on the ballot… Under the existing system, Davis said, ‘Once those delegate slates are on the ballot, the presidential candidates don’t come to Illinois except to raise money. We’re a cash machine for candidates, and that’s about it.’ If the winner-take-all rule would apply, he said, ‘I would think that candidates would want to come in here and really make a push to win the state.’” [The State Journal- Register, 9/4/11] Davis Said The Victory Program Was Developed By GOP Adviser Karl Rove In Campaigns For Former President George W. Bush. According to The State Journal- Register, “But last year, Davis ran that Republican National Committee ‘victory’ program in Illinois, concentrating staff to work at once on a variety of races, from national to local. ‘I was ecstatic,’ Davis said of the results of that 2010 effort. He said Illinois was tops nationally in volunteer calls and voter outreach. Davis said the victory program was developed by GOP adviser Karl Rove in campaigns for former President George W. Bush. ‘I’ve been told by RNC veterans that we had the best total results in the history of the program that Karl Rove invented,’ Davis said. He said he’s not taking credit for all the good stuff, but Davis loves the fact that Illinois now has five Republican freshmen in the U.S. House, including U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling in the 17th Congressional District, which includes a slice of Springfield. ‘It
was like winning Powerball for somebody like me that works in the congressional arena,’ Davis said.” [The State Journal- Register, 4/10/11]
SELECTED FOR CONGRESSIONAL NOMINATION BY PARTY INSIDERS
Davis Was Chosen By A Secret Ballot In Closed Door Meeting. According to Prairie State Report, “That candidate, then, will be Rodney Davis. Davis is a former aide to Rep. John Shimkus and is a state party insider. Davis was supposedly chosen by unanimous ballot in the closed-door meeting, but Jon Zahm reported on his blog that this was not the case from the start and that any unanimity that came about only did so after several ballots. As the final votes still remain secret, Zahm also decries the lack of transparency in the process.” [Prairie State Report, 6/1/12] • Davis Claimed His Nomination Was Open And Transparent. According to The Telegraph, “In a telephone interview with The Telegraph, Davis said he isn’t concerned about entering the race without having won the primary. ‘I don’t have concerns as much as it kind of still surprises me,’ the Taylorville resident said. ‘If you had asked me eight weeks ago if I would be talking to you as a candidate for Congress,’ Davis said, leaving the rest of his thought unspoken. Even so, Davis said Johnson deserves the party’s thanks for stepping aside early enough to allow GOP leaders sufficient time to pick the new nominee. ‘It was one of the most public and open and transparent processes I’ve ever seen,’ Davis said. ‘I participated in six public forums that were done district-wide. I think it gave the voters a chance to come out and really know who the candidates were. ‘It’s not a substitute for a primary, and it’s not a process I hope other districts would go through,’ he admitted. ‘Voters are the ones who deserve to select their candidates. But I’m honored to be their candidate.’” [The Telegraph, 6/4/12]
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