Rep. Mary Miller says former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and his last-minute rally in Illinois in support of the first-term conservative congresswoman was instrumental in helping her defeat fellow Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in a GOP primary battle.
“Clearly, President Trump’s endorsement and him coming was significant,” Miller told Fox News Wednesday, the day after she defeated Davis by roughly 15 points in the Republican showdown in Illinois’ newly drawn 15th Congressional District, according to unofficial returns.
Davis, who for a decade has represented the neighboring 13th District, ran against Miller for the new, heavily red seat in the central part of the state, which contains large swaths of his current district.
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Davis was one of 35 House Republicans who last year voted for a bipartisan and independent commission to investigate the Jan 6, 2021, deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt the congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.
The bill to create the commission failed in the Senate, and House Democrats eventually set up a select committee of mostly Democrats to investigate the storming of the Capitol.
Trump took aim at Davis and praised Miller at Saturday’s rally. And, in an interview with Fox News on the eve of the rally, Miller charged that Davis “stabbed President Trump in the back multiple times, and the people in the 15th district don’t appreciate it. Voting for the Jan. 6 Commission has outraged people.”
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On Wednesday, Miller pointed to Davis’ vote as a contributing factor in her victory, saying “Rodney Davis didn’t support the president in the past, and I think that that was significant.”
In his concession statement, Davis said, “I look forward to campaigning with every Republican up and down the ticket across Illinois between now and November to ensure we take back our state and take back Congress.”
Asked if she looks forward to support from Davis as she now runs in November’s general election, Miller didn’t mention her former rival by name, but said, “I look forward to building relationships with anybody that is on board with the America First agenda.”
Miller’s appearance at the Trump rally was marred by criticism after the congresswoman — referring to Friday’s monumental ruling from the Supreme Court’s conservative majority to upend the half-century-old landmark Roe v. Wade abortion opinion — appeared to credit Trump as a “victor for White life.” Her campaign said she misread prepared remarks, and Miller later told a local radio interview that she’s not a racist.
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On Wednesday, Miller said her victory is more proof that “clearly, President Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party.”
Miller’s victory, along with Trump-backed state Sen. Darren Bailey’s trouncing of his rivals in the Illinois GOP gubernatorial primary, gave the former president some bragging rights after suffering some setbacks in other high-profile and competitive Republican primary showdowns so far this primary season.
Miller said “I would love to see him come back” and campaign with her and fellow Illinois Republicans in the general election and said “absolutely” when asked if she’d like to see Trump run for the White House in 2024.
“And so do the people in Illinois 15. He was so good for America,” she argued.