Representative Mary Miller defeated Representative Rodney Davis in an Illinois United States House of Representatives primaries after they pitted two sitting Republicans against each other in a realignment, NBC News predicted.
With nearly all the expected votes counted, Miller was 15 points ahead of Davis.
Miller’s victory also marked another victory for former President Donald Trump, who backed her as part of his effort to oust several incumbent Republicans deemed insufficiently loyal. Davis came into conflict with Trump by supporting the creation of an independent commission to investigate the January 6 riots. Davis supported the never-chartered independent committee, not the House select committee now investigating the Capitol attack, which held its sixth public hearing Tuesday.
In the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s primary, Trump suffered losses in taking on incumbent Republicans in Georgia, South Carolina and Idaho. He was successful in his bid to get Rep. Tom Rice, RC, who voted to impeach Trump after the riots. Trump also managed to get Rep. David McKinley, RW.V., who lost to Rep. Alex Mooney, RW.V., after both moved into the same district.
Davis and Miller competed in the newly redrawn 15th congressional district, which now encompasses a portion of the state that is solidly red. That put Davis, someone whose previous district needed a moderate hand, against an electorate that is more deeply conservative.
In addition, Trump visited the district on Saturday for a rally supporting Miller, who sought to take the event’s momentum to a win on Tuesday. But the appearance was marred when Miller credited him with a “victory for white life” — a reference to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which provided constitutional protections for abortion rights.
Her campaign said she misread prepared comments containing the phrase “right to life,” and Miller later told a local radio station she’s not a racist. Footage of the moment, with Trump standing right behind her on stage, quickly went viral online, not least because Miller had previously praised Hitler for his youth engagement strategy on Jan. 6, 2021. She later apologized for that comment.
Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, criticized Miller for her “white life” remark, saying the comments were “just another part of a disturbing pattern of behavior she has exhibited since coming to Congress,” adding that she “has shown that she is not fit for public office.”
Miller has a markedly more pro-Trump voting record than Davis, one of the more moderate members of the House GOP conference, although Davis has promoted where he joins Trump during the campaign. Miller voted Jan. 6 to reject certified voters, while Davis voted to approve electoral vote counting — something Miller repeatedly brought to the attention of supporters.
Davis had significantly more money in his campaign coffers than Miller, a first-term member. Surveys in the run-up to the election showed a narrow race that could have gone either way.
After his defeat, Davis offered a statement congratulating Miller “and President Trump on their victory tonight”.
“This has been a hard-fought campaign, and I wish her the best in representing the citizens of the 15th district,” he said, adding: “As Republicans are poised to retake the House, it is paramount that Republicans in Congress work to end the dysfunction and bring results to the American people.”