|Official portrait, 2011|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 17th district
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Phil Hare|
|Succeeded by||Cheri Bustos|
|Born||Robert Todd Schilling
January 23, 1964
Rock Island, Illinois
|Alma mater||Alleman High School
Black Hawk College
|Occupation||Restaurant owner, former union official|
Robert Todd "Bobby" Schilling (born January 23, 1964) is a former U.S. Representative for Illinois's 17th congressional district, serving from 2011 to 2013. Schilling is a member of the Republican Party. Schilling challenged incumbent Democrat Phil Hare in the 2010 election and defeated him by ten points. In the 2012 election, he was defeated by Democrat Cheri Bustos. In 2013, he announced he is running for his former seat in the 2014 election.
Early life, education, and business career
Schilling worked at Container Corporation of America between 1983 and 1987 and was a union steward for the local chapter of the United Paper Workers International Union. He then worked as an insurance agent for Prudential Insurance Company between 1987 and 1995, where he was ranked in the top 5% of all Prudential agents during his last year. He was also the treasurer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for four of those years.
In 1996, he and his wife opened Saint Giuseppe's Heavenly Pizza in Moline, Illinois; the restaurant is still owned by the family and Schilling ran the restaurant until taking office, when he left his son in charge. According to public personal financial disclosures, Schilling's restaurant has dropped in value from a range of $100,000 to $250,000 down to between $50,000–$100,000. Schilling's son and campaign manager Terry Schilling said, "The real estate market has really taken a hit in East Moline. It just goes to show that Bobby Schilling has a real stake in this economy."
U.S. House of Representatives
Schilling grew up as a Democrat, but has become more conservative over the years and now characterizes himself as a "Reagan Republican." He was also influenced by radio and television personality Glenn Beck. Schilling was one of the 9–12 Candidates, a group led by Beck, and signed the 9–12 contract of principles and values. Schilling has said he was inspired to run for office because he was preparing to franchise his restaurant, but cancelled his plans when he saw then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama telling Joe the Plumber that the government needed to "spread the wealth around." Schilling announced his candidacy in April 2009 and officially filed for the Republican nomination in October 2009.
Schilling vowed not to participate in the congressional pension program, to keep his private health insurance instead of the congressional plan, to donate any pay raises he receives, to limit himself to no more than eight years in Congress, and not to vote for any bill he hasn't read. "I'm not going to make a career out of this," he says.
Early in the campaign, political websites rated the 17th District race "safe Democratic." However, by Election Day the race was rated "leans Republican" by RealClearPolitics, Cook Political Report, CQ Politics, and the New York Times. The race was profiled on CNN as one of the country's top 100 House races, in which they said, "Schilling trails in the overall money race, but he's raised enough to get his message out and give the incumbent something to worry about."
Hare criticized Schilling for living 0.99 miles outside the 17th District, though the Constitution only requires congressmen to live in the state they wish to represent. Schilling's wife notes that the family's restaurant is in the 17th and employs people and pays taxes there. She also says the family fell out of the district because of gerrymandering.
Unopposed in the primary election, in the general election, Schilling won by an unexpectedly large margin, taking 53 percent of the vote to Hare's 43 percent. After the election, Schilling hired as his chief of staff Mike Roman, a political consultant known for posting a video showing alleged voter intimidation during the 2008 presidential election. Roman, along with policy director Scott Tranter, resigned from Schilling's office in April 2011.
Schilling's campaign set an off-year fundraising record for a challenger in the 17th district, amassing about $89,000 in 2009. Schilling's campaign fundraising relied largely on individual donors, who accounted for about 80 percent of the $1 million raised by his campaign. Hare depended more heavily on political action committees, who contributed about two-thirds of his campaigns $1.3 million total. Following his election, Schilling has relied more on political action committees to help retire his campaign debt, with the bulk of his December 2010 fundraising coming from PACs, including Wal-Mart, the American Medical Association, Caterpillar Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Schilling ended the campaign with a total of $1,095,167 raised and $1,078,911 spent.
The following organizations endorsed Schilling in his 2010 run for Congress: The Illinois Federation for the Right to Life PAC; CatholicVote PAC; the Quincy Tea Party group; John Deere PAC; and the United States Chamber of Commerce.
Individuals who endorsed Schilling included: U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL); U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN); former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney; political figure and author Joe the Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher); and, Sgt. John F. Baker, Jr., recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Newspapers were evenly divided in endorsing Schilling over Hare, with the Chicago Tribune and the Sauk Valley News among those supporting Schilling. In October 2010 Schilling was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune.
Schilling ran for re-election in 2012 and faced Democrat and former East Moline City Council Alderwoman Cheri Bustos in the general election. He has been added to the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, which is designed to defend incumbent Republicans. The 17th District boundaries were redrawn by the Democratic-controlled legislature to make it significantly more Democratic. Notably, Quincy, Decatur and the district's share of Springfield were cut out, replaced by portions of Peoria and Rockford. National Journal's Cook Political Report named Schilling one of the top 10 Republicans most vulnerable to redistricting in 2012.
Schilling has raised $1.4 million and had $950,000 cash on hand as of June 30, 2011.
While initially rated as a "lean-Democrat" race by major sites, in September 2012, Roll Call, the Cook Political Report, and the Rothenburg Political Report upgraded the race to "toss-up", with Cook saying Schilling had an advantage.
Schilling was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune, the Rockford Register Star, CatholicVote, the National Rifle Association, former Congressman Tom Railsback, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Galesburg Register-Mail, among other endorsements.
In the November 2012 elections, Bustos defeated Schilling by a 53%-47% margin. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Schilling was "looking forward to focusing again on his pizza business after losing a second term."
Schilling's wife and 10 children attended the congressional swearing-in on January 5, 2011, attracting some notice and an interview with Diane Sawyer. His early actions as a congressman included joining 25 other freshman Republicans in voting against extending the USA PATRIOT Act; Schilling stated he believed that the bill may not provide sufficient safeguards on who is allowed to access personal information, and that the 45 minutes allotted for floor debate was inadequate to discuss these concerns. Following Obama's late January 2011 State of the Union address in which the President said he was "eager" to work with critics of his health care reform law, Schilling sent a letter to Obama requesting a one-on-one meeting.
In February 2011, Schilling joined 130 House Republicans in voting against a $450 million budget cut for an extra F-35 fighter-jet engine—a project that the U.S. Department of Defense had repeatedly tried to kill, and that Defense Secretary Robert Gates called "a waste of nearly 3 billion." Schilling voted for a package of cuts that included a $230 million federal grant to build an Amtrak line from Chicago to Iowa City, though he had supported the project during his campaign, calling it "critically important to both the economy and the environment of the Midwest." The planned rail line was a celebrated project by many in his district, including local mayors. Schilling defended his vote, arguing it was a question of prioritizing, separating wants from needs, and when he looked at the big picture, the rail service did not make the cut. He also stated that his constituents elected him to address national debt and deficit problems in Washington, not to take a business-as-usual approach.
In October 2011, a California resident issued a death threat promising a reward to anyone who assassinated Schilling. The threat is being investigated by the FBI and the United States Capitol Police. Schilling said he was advised by authorities to "lay low" while they investigated the threat and a spokeswoman for Schilling said the Schilling family was taking the "recommended precautions". According to The Hill, the person behind the threat may be the one behind similar threats against George W. Bush, several high-ranking current and former security and defense officials, and Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado. Schilling said, "It's a general threat to all members of Congress, but they specifically called my name out in the threat. You just don't know what people are thinking...It's something we're not going to take lightly."
- He is pro-life, and spoke at the 2011 March for Life.
- He opposes gun control legislation.
- He has said that the federal government should stop regulating education and that local schools should be under local control.
- He views health care reform as a top priority. but supports repealing the Democrats' version of health care reform, believing it is unconstitutional. He supports tort reform and legalizing the purchase of insurance across state lines.
- He is fiscally conservative, and believes in small government.
- He supports term limits for members of Congress.
- He opposes the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
- He supports lowering the corporate tax rate.
- He supports a troop surge in the War in Afghanistan., and He opposes bringing Guantanamo Bay detainees to Thomson, Illinois; instead he supports bringing the detainees to trial before military courts rather than the U.S. civilian, federal courts.
- He supports expanding and updating missile defense systems.
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Small Business
|2010 General Election, 17th Congressional District, Illinois|
|Green||Roger K. Davis||8,861||4.46%|
|2012 General Election, 17th Congressional District, Illinois|
2014 election bid
It was widely speculated that Schilling would challenge Bustos to reclaim the seat in 2014. On July 8, 2013, he officially announced his candidacy for his old seat in the 2014 election. In his announcement, he said Bustos has been failing the middle class, and hammered her for neither supporting a budget plan nor developing her own.
Schilling is married to Christie Schilling. They have ten children, the youngest of whom was born in February 2010, and two grandchildren. Schilling currently works in the private sector for CMB Regional Centers of Rock Island as director of business relations and government affairs. CMB works with foreign investors interested in permanent residency and investment opportunities in the United States.
- "Ballots cast, General election – 17th Congress". Illinois State Board of Elections. November 2, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Schilling: Looking forward to making pizza again. Seattle Post Intelligencer. November 7, 2012
- Kroll, Mike (December 31, 2009). "Politics, pizza and promises". Galesburg, Illinois: The Zephyr. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Bobby Schilling campaign. "Meet Bobby". Bobby2010.com. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Hardly Settled in House, but Already in Hot Seat
- Report lists assets, income, debts for Schilling, Bustos
- Helliker, Kevin (October 27, 2010). "Pizza-Place Owner Hopes to Flip Democratic District". Online WSJ (The Wall Street Journal). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Wilson, Doug. "Election 2010: Fueled by growing voter anger, Schilling trying to unseat Hare". Quincy Herald Whig. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Tibbetts, Ed (April 11, 2009). "Pizza shop owner Bobby Schilling to challenge Phil Hare". QC Times. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Daily Review Atlas staff reporter (April 17, 2009). "Hare gets his first challenger". Daily Review Atlas (Monmouth, Illinois). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Staff reporters (November 4, 2009). "State, congressional candidates set for primary". The Telegraph (Alton, Illinois). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Schilling files paperwork to run for 17th District Congressional Seat". Press release submitted by Bobby Schilling Campaign (Press release). Quad Cities Online. October 30, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Wilson, Doug (January 6, 2010). "Quincy Tea Party throws conditional support to Bobby Schilling in race for Congressional seat". Quincy Herald Whig. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Admin. (January 7, 2010). "Bobby’s Contract with the 17th District". Official Blog, Bob's for jobs. Bobby Schilling for Congress campaign. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Turner, Jonathan (January 6, 2010). "Schilling pledges to serve only 8 years". Quad Cities Online. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Riopell, Mike (February 15, 2010). "Hare: Keep moving on health care". QC Times. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Brown, Theresa (December 10, 2010). "Illinois 17th District Race Profile – Election 2010". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Race Detail Display Page : Roll Call". CQ Politics. February 10, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Election 2010 – Illinois 17th District – Schilling vs. Hare". Real Clear Politics. March 18, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Cook Political Report Upgrades IL-17 to Toss Up". Illinois Review. September 16, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "CNN 100: GOP newcomer hopes slow and steady wins race against Hare". CNN Political Ticker (CNN). September 12, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- McArdle, John (September 15, 2010). "NRCC to Add 18 New Young Guns Thursday". The Eye CQ Politics (CQ Politics). Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- Wilson, Doug (December 29, 2010). "Bobby Schilling hires chief of staff, others". Doug Wilson’s Political Blog (Quincy Herald Whig). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Ed Tibbetts (April 5, 2011). "Top Schilling staffers resign". Decatur Herald-Review. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- Tibbetts, Ed (February 2, 2011). "PACs pay most of Schilling’s campaign debt". Herald-Review. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "2010 House and Senate Candidate List". Federal Election Commission. December 31, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "2010 Illinois Primary Election Page—Endorsements". Illinois Federation for Right to Life. For the February 2, 2010 primary election.
- "Candidates". CatholicVote.org. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Williams, Chris (September 5, 2010). "Deere PAC chooses sides in tight congressional race". WQAD. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- ABC News staff reporter (October 13, 2010). "From Pizza Parlor to Power Player -Republican Bobby Schilling Is an Unlikely Candidate for Congress". ABC News. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Congressman Aaron Schock to Endorse Schilling". Publius Forum. ChicagoNow.com. February 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Michele Bachmann Endorses Bobby Schilling for Congress" (Video). YouTube. May 31, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Mitt Romney Endorses Bobby Schilling for Congress". Aledo, Illinois: Aledo Times Record. September 24, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Joe the Plumber Stumps for Schilling" (Press release). Bobby2010.com. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Schilling humbled to receive hero's endorsement" (Press release). Bobby2010.com. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Tibbetts, Ed. "On the Campaign Trail with Ed Tibbetts". QC Times. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- SVN Editorial Board (October 7, 2010). "Bobby Schilling for 17th House". Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Tibbetts, Ed (June 3, 2011). "Hare rules out another run for Congress". Quad-City Times. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- John Sharp (March 20, 2012). "Bustos will face Schilling for 17th Congressional seat". Peoria Journal Star. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- NRCC adds 10 members to incumbent-protection program
- David Wasserman and Julia Edwards (April 15, 2011). "Top 10 Republicans Most Vulnerable to Redistricting". Cook Political Report. National Journal. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- FEC Records
- NATIONAL PUNDITS LIKE SCHILLING'S CHANCES
- Rating the races: U.S. House and Senate
- For the House: Duckworth, Schilling
- Our View: Bobby Schilling is our pick for Congress in 17th District
- NRA-PVF Endorses Bobby Schilling for U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District
- Schilling's re-election bid endorsed by Railsback
- NFIB Backs 17th District Hopeful Bobby Schilling
- Endorsement: Schilling for U.S. District 17 representative
- Schilling: Looking forward to making pizza again Seattle Post Intelligencer. November 7, 2012.
- Skiba, Katherine (January 5, 2011). "Illinois' 5 new GOP congressmen sworn in – Western Illinois' Rep. Bobby Schilling – with his 10 kids in tow – proves the center of attention". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Strong, Jonathan (January 27, 2011). "Read Bill | Rand Paul Bobby Schilling | Patriot Act Fail". The Daily Caller. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Stone, Andrea (February 9, 2011). "Why Did 26 Republicans Vote Against Extending the Patriot Act?". AOL News. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Strong, Jonathan (January 26, 2011). "Literalist freshman rep. wants one-on-one with Obama on health care". The Daily Caller. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Tiron, Roxana (February 16, 2011). "U.S. House Votes to Kill GE Engine for F-35 Fighter". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- "House Vote 46 – Cancels F-35 Jet Engine Program". The New York Times.
- RaeChelle Davis and Dana Franks (February 23, 2011). "U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling defends vote on Quad Cities Amtrak route: 'I don't believe it's dead'". WQAD. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- "Quad-Cities Online". Qconline.com. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Proposal would make lawmakers wait longer to tap pensions
- Giffords Returns, as Does Unity, Briefly
- Authorities investigate threat to Rep. Bobby Schilling
- Bobby Schilling threat investigated by FBI, police
- Congressman Schilling asked to lay low after online threat offering assassination reward
- Authorities Investigate E-Mail Threats Against Obamas and Others
- FBI investigating assassination threat against Rep. Schilling
- GOP calls on Dems not to wait, back House-passed ‘jobs’ bills
- Schilling honored by SC Farm Bureau
- No Labels Gives Problem-Solvers Seal to Bobby Schilling
- Weisman, Jonathan (April 27, 2010). "Obama Hits Road to Prop Up Support". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Wilson, Doug (December 6, 2009). "Quincy man seeks 17th District seat as Green Party candidate". Quincy Herald Whig (Quincy, Illinois). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Weigel, David (January 24, 2011). "Weigel : The Pro-Life Freshmen on the March". Slate. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Rock Island County Town Hall KLJB Story" (Video). Schilling for Congress. YouTube. November 1, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Clifford, Catherine (January 7, 2011). "Pizza man Bobby Schilling hopes to fix Congress". CNN Money. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Editorial board questionnaires and endorsements". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Timmons, Eric (May 11, 2009). "Bobby Schilling takes fight to Hare". The Register-Mail (Galesburg, Illinois). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Timmons, Eric (June 27, 2010). "Hare, Schilling, offer voters distinct choices". The Register-Mail (Galesburg, Illinois). Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- "Schilling Running for 17th District Congressional Seat". WIUM (Tri States Public Radio). May 15, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Schilling, Bobby. "GITMO North Is the Worst Option on the Table". Big Government. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Ballots Cast
- Ed Tibbetts (May 31, 2013). "Schilling eyes 2014". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- It’s official: Schilling challenges Bustos
- Bobby Schilling for Congress
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography at Ballotpedia
- Biography at NNDB
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Congressional profile at Roll Call
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Financial investments (personal) at The Washington Post
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Appearances at the Internet Movie Database
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Political positions questionnaire at The Chicago Tribune
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 17th congressional district
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013