Rodney Davis (politician)

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Rodney Davis
Rodney Davis official photo 2016.jpg
Ranking Member of the
House Administration Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2019
Preceded byBob Brady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byTim Johnson (Redistricting)
Personal details
Rodney Lee Davis

(1970-01-05) January 5, 1970 (age 50)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Shannon Davis
m. 1995)
EducationMillikin University (BA)
WebsiteHouse website

Rodney Lee Davis (born January 5, 1970)[1] is an American Republican politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 13th congressional district since 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Davis was born in Des Moines, Iowa.[1] He graduated from Millikin University in 1992 with a degree in political science.[2]

Early political career[edit]

After graduating from college, Davis worked for then-Secretary of State George Ryan. In 1996, he lost a race for the state legislature.[3] In 1998, Davis managed the first re-election campaign for Illinois Congressman John Shimkus. Following the successful campaign, Davis accepted a position on Shimkus' congressional staff.[4]

In 2000, Davis lost his campaign for mayor of Taylorville, Illinois.[3] Davis served as Shimkus' projects director while running for Congress.[5]

U.S House of Representatives[edit]



On May 19, 2012, the Republican County Chairmen for the 14 Illinois counties comprising the 13th district nominated Davis as the Republican candidate in the 13th district. This district had previously been the 15th, represented by six-term incumbent Republican Tim Johnson. Johnson had announced in April that he would not seek re-election, just days after winning the Republican primary. Other finalists for the nomination were Jerry Clarke, chief of staff to fellow U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren and Johnson's former chief of staff; Erika Harold, a lawyer and winner of Miss America in 2003; and Kathy Wassink, a businesswoman.[5] Davis was coaching his sons' little league baseball game when he was informed that he had been nominated.[6] His home in Taylorville had previously been in Shimkus' 19th District (which had been renumbered as the new 15th). However, the new 13th had absorbed much of the old 19th's northern portion, including Taylorville.

In the general election, Davis narrowly defeated Democrat David M. Gill by a margin of 1,002 votes (0.3%). Independent candidate John Hartman received around 21,000 votes (7.2%).[7]


On June 13, 2013, former Miss America Erika Harold announced she would run against Davis in the 2014 Republican primary.[8] The primary took place on March 18, 2014.

The Republican field included Davis, Harold, and Michael Firsching.[9] Davis won the primary with 55% of the vote.[9]

Davis faced Democrat Ann Callis in the general election on November 4, 2014.[10] He was reportedly a top target for the Democrats[11] but won the general election with 59% of the vote.[12][13]


Davis won re-election in 2016. He defeated Ethan Vandersand in the primary and faced Democrat Mark Wicklund and independent David Gill in the general election on November 8, 2016.[14] Davis received 59.7% of the vote.[15]


On March 20, 2018, Betsy Londrigan won the Democratic primary in District 13 with over 45% of the vote, beating Erik Jones, David Gill, Jonathan Ebel, and Angel Sides.[16]

In May 2018, the American Federation of Government Employees endorsed Davis for re-election. AFGE District 7 National Vice President Dorothy James said, “We hope that Rep. Davis will continue his good work on Capitol Hill for years to come and are happy to announce our support for him today.”[17]

On November 6, 2018, Davis won re-election 50.7% to 49.3% in the narrowest re-election win of his career. Davis lost the district's shares of Champaign, McLean, and Sangamon counties. However, he carried Christian County and Macon County. His margins in both Christian and Macon far exceeded his overall margin of 2,058 votes.[18]


Davis is a member of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus[19] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[20] He was previously a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership and served as chair of the Republican Main Street Caucus.[21][22] As of March 2018, Davis had voted in line with President Donald Trump's position 96.5 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight.[23]

Davis said in a June 2018 interview that "we've got to stop this politicizing everything like dinner." He added that "Donald Trump was elected, in my opinion, because of this move toward making everything politically correct in this country."[24]

On December 18, 2019, Davis voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump.[25]

On August 5, 2020, Davis was diagnosed with COVID-19.[26]

Political positions[edit]


In 2015, he voted to lift a ban on travel to Cuba.[27]

Government shutdown[edit]

Davis voted for H.J.Res.59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, which resulted in the Government Shutdown of 2013. After the vote, Politico reported that Davis also intended to vote for a bill that would end the shutdown, stressing that an agreement needed to be made and that "Like most of those I represent, I remain opposed to Obamacare, but a government shutdown is absolutely unacceptable."[28][29][30][31][32]

Gun policy[edit]

In March 2018, in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, Davis said the shooting could have been prevented if the perpetrator had been charged with a felony for bringing a gun to school earlier. Davis said he believed more funding should be directed to mental health programs and that loopholes in background checks should be closed, but that he did not see banning guns as a solution.[33]

Health care[edit]

Davis voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[34] On May 4, 2017, Davis voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA).[35][36] During his re-election campaign, Davis claimed that The Washington Post fact-checker had found his opponent's claims about the impact of Obamacare's repeal on preexisting conditions to be false. The Washington Post fact-checker responded, saying that Davis was "twisting an unrelated fact check and [was] misleading voters."[37]


In June 2016, Davis cast the deciding vote on a bill to retain the ability of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to join the U.S. military. The program would allow a quicker pathway to citizenship for those who serve.[27]

In September 2017, some constituents protested Davis' opposition to extending the DACA legislation without concurrent funding for a border wall.[38]

In June 2018, Davis told an interviewer that he hoped to co-sponsor a “stand-alone bill” that would address the separation of adult illegal aliens at the Mexican border from the children accompanying them. He expressed optimism that the Congress could come up with some compromise on these issues.[24]

Tax reform[edit]

Davis voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[39]

Davis said the tax bill will improve the economy without impacting the deficit. He said Americans will see "more money in the pockets" come February 2018 as a result of the bill.[40]

In a December 26, 2017, interview on CNN, Davis said that the U.S. would see increase tax revenue because of the economic growth resulting from the tax cut, and this, in turn, would bring down the national deficit.[41]


In an April 2018 interview, Davis expressed concern about the impact of proposed tariffs on Illinois soybean farmers and other Illinois agricultural workers, but was glad that President Trump had given “a lot of free rein” to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Davis highlighted unfair trade practices by China and noted the adverse effect on the domestic steel industry.[42]

In a June 2018 interview, he reiterated concern about some of President Trump's proposed tariffs impact on his constituents as well as their impact on certain foreign countries. Although he felt “the president was right to actually address the steel discrepancy that he saw from countries like China,” he wished that Trump “would focus on...actors like China rather than punishing our allies.”[43]


Davis introduced the Hire More Heroes Act of 2013 into the House on November 13, 2013. The bill would allow employers to exclude veterans receiving health insurance from the United States Department of Defense or the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs from their list of employees.[44][45]

This would have had the effect of keeping their list of employees shorter, allowing some small businesses to fall underneath the 50 full-time employees line that would require them to provide their employees with healthcare under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.[45][46] Davis said that the bill "gives our small businesses another incentive to hire veterans, which helps to address the increasing number of unemployed veterans, while providing them with some relief from ObamaCare."[46]

Women's rights[edit]

He voted to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act.[47]


Davis has cast several votes in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.[citation needed]

Davis has a "B" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Davis supports veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He supports industrial hemp farming and medical marijuana research.[48]

Electoral history[edit]

Illinois 13th Congressional District General Election, 2012[49]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney Davis 137,034 46.55
Democratic David M. Gill 136,032 46.21
Independent John Hartman 21,319 7.24
Total votes 294,385 100.0
Illinois 13th Congressional District Republican Primary, 2014[50]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney Davis (incumbent) 27,816 54.63
Republican Erika Harold 20,951 41.15
Republican Michael Firsching 2,147 4.22
Total votes 50,914 100.0
Illinois 13th Congressional District General Election, 2014[51]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney Davis (incumbent) 123,337 58.66
Democratic Ann E. Callis 86,935 41.34
Total votes 210,272 100.0
Illinois 13th Congressional District Republican Primary, 2016[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney Davis (incumbent) 71,447 76.95
Republican Ethan Vandersand 21,401 23.05
Total votes 92,848 100.0
Illinois 13th Congressional District General Election, 2016[53]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney Davis (incumbent) 187,583 59.66
Democratic Mark D. Wicklund 126,811 40.34
Total votes 314,394 100.0
Illinois 13th Congressional District General Election, 2018[54]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Rodney Davis (incumbent) 136,516 50.38
Democratic Betsy Dirksen Londrigan 134,458 49.62
Write-in votes Thomas J. Kuna (Jacob) 7 0.00
Total votes 270,981 100.0

Personal life[edit]

Davis and his wife Shannon wed in 1995, and the couple currently lives in Taylorville, Illinois.[55] They have three children.[5]

Davis coaches Taylorville Junior Football, is a member of the Taylorville Optimist Club, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Christian County Senior Center.[1]

Davis plays catcher for the GOP team in the Congressional Baseball Game.[56][57]


  1. ^ a b c "Rodney Davis' Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "Congressman Rodney Davis '92 returns to Millikin as part of Constitution Week". Millikin University. September 19, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "DAVIS profile". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  4. ^ Gangitano, Alex (June 23, 2016). "Staffer Member Duo Turned Catcher Pitcher Teammates". Roll Call. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Petty, Allison (May 19, 2012). "GOP picks Rodney Davis to face Gill". Bloomington Pantagraph.
  6. ^ "GOP chooses Davis for US Rep. Tim Johnson's seat". Associated Press. May 19, 2012.
  7. ^ "Ballots Cast". Illinois State Board of Election. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  8. ^ Last, Jonathan V. "Miss America vs. Mr. Incumbent". The Weekly Standard.
  9. ^ a b Official Illinois State Board of Elections Results Archived January 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  10. ^ Cahn, Emily (March 18, 2014). "Ann Callis, Rodney Davis to Face Off in Targeted Illinois District". Roll Call. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  11. ^ Camia, Catalina. Ex-Miss America Erika Harold begins campaign for Congress, USA Today, June 4, 2013; retrieved March 3, 2015.
  12. ^ "Illinois General Election 2014". Illinois State Board of Elections. November 4, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  13. ^ Kacich, Tom "Davis: 'An Opportunity' for Republicans", The News Gazette, November 5, 2014; retrieved May 27, 2016.
  14. ^ Kacich, Tom (July 19, 2016). "Davis has monumental advantage in campaign money". The News-Gazette. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  15. ^ "2016 Illinois House Election Results". Politico. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  16. ^ "Illinois' 13th Congressional District election, 2018 - Ballotpedia". Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  17. ^ AFGE Endorses Rep. Rodney Davis for Reelection; PR Newswire; May 22, 2018;
  18. ^ 2018 election results from CNN
  19. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  20. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  21. ^ Is there room for another GOP caucus? Main Street chairman says yes
  22. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  23. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (January 30, 2017). "Tracking Rodney Davis In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Rep. Davis “optimistic” House will vote on family separation policy; MSCNBC; June 24, 2018;
  25. ^ "Here's how the House voted on Trump's impeachment". POLITICO. Retrieved May 2, 2020.
  26. ^ Kapos, Shia. "Rep. Rodney Davis diagnosed with Covid days after warning lawmakers about safety". POLITICO. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  27. ^ a b Raasch, Chuck (July 4, 2016). "Rep. Rodney Davis is a Republican with an occasional twist". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  28. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 504". Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  29. ^ "H.J.Res.59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014". Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  30. ^ ISENSTADT, ALEX (October 1, 2013). "Vulnerable Republicans: End the shutdown". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  31. ^ "Legislation-Joint Resolution – Concurrence Vote Passed (House) (228-201) – Sept. 30, 2013". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  32. ^ "How Rodney Davis voted on key votes". Washington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  33. ^ Schlenker, Charlie; Rodney Davis Stands Firm For Second Amendment; NPR; March 29, 2018;
  34. ^ Mike Fitzgerald (December 3, 2013). "Health care glitches put twist on local congressional races". Archived from the original on April 16, 2014.
  35. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  36. ^ Staff, CNN. "How every member voted on health care bill". CNN. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  37. ^ "Analysis | These Republicans are misleading voters about our Obamacare fact checks". Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  38. ^, Derek Beigh. "Residents frustrated with Davis over DACA". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  39. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  40. ^ Wolfe, Doug. "Davis: Tax cut money will not come from Medicare". WAND17. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  41. ^ Davis Joins CNN Newsroom to Discuss Health Care Reform; CNN; April 5, 2017;
  42. ^ Davis Discusses Unfair Trade with China on CNN; CNN; April 6, 2018
  43. ^ Rep. Davis Wants Trump to Focus on 'Bad Actors' Like China; Bloomberg; June 27, 2018;
  44. ^ "H.R. 3474 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  45. ^ a b Hultgren, Randy (January 13, 2014). "Let's Give Jobs to Veterans: Hultgren Supports Hire More Heroes Act". Osqego Patch. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  46. ^ a b Kasperowicz, Pete (March 10, 2014). "GOP eyes Dem help on ObamaCare". The Hill. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  47. ^ Bill Lambrecht (May 20, 2013). "In Illinois, Davis preparing for marathon race for Congress". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  48. ^ "Illinois Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  49. ^ "Election Results 2012 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  50. ^ "Election Results 2014 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  51. ^ "Election Results 2014 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  52. ^ "Election Results 2016 GENERAL PRIMARY". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  53. ^ "Election Results 2016 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  54. ^ "Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION". Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  55. ^ "Profile". Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  56. ^ "Rep. Joe Barton on congressional baseball game, GOP's 7-year losing streak and Democratic superstar Cedric Richmond". Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  57. ^ "Our 10 best photos from the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game". Roll Call. Retrieved May 2, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Judy Biggert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th congressional district

Preceded by
Bob Brady
Ranking Member of the House Administration Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Paul Cook
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Lois Frankel