Democratic challenger Tim Bagwell kicked off his campaign against U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, today at a Statehouse press conference by throwing barbs at the incumbent.
Democratic challenger Tim Bagwell kicked off his campaign against U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, today at a Statehouse press conference.
Bagwell slammed Shimkus on the congressman's 'no' vote on health care reform.
"He has stood with that radical faction within his party that would take programs supported by (Mitt) Romney and (Bill) Frist and paint them as socialist and communist," Bagwell said.
He added that Shimkus has not represented the 19th District, covering parts of central and southern Illinois, as it should be.
"He's left with no ideas, bills, plans or programs left to offer his constituents," Bagwell said. "With the help of his radical off-beat and out-of-touch allies, Mr. Shimkus has helped create the party of no - the party of no new ideas."
Shimkus' spokesman brushed aside Bagwell's comments.
"The congressman will vote 'no' when he disagrees with the legislation," said spokesman Steve Tomaszewski.
He said Shimkus supported health care reforms that include insurance policy caps, insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and interstate sales of health insurance.
"He was presented a package to vote 'yes' or 'no' on without any amendments allowed, without much debate allowed," Tomaszewski said. "He didn't feel that was the right direction that he could support or that the people in our district supported based on the contacts to our office so he voted 'no.'"
Bagwell also challenged Shimkus to fill out a personal history questionnaire and post it on his campaign Web site. The form is similar to the questionnaire candidates for lieuentant governor filled out after Chicago pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen dropped out of the race.
This is the second time the 54-year-old Olney resident and information technology consultant has run against Shimkus. In 2004, he received 31 percent of the vote, while Shimkus won with 69 percent.
Bagwell ran unopposed in the February Democratic primary.