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Bryant running for state Senate; Schimpf retiring after this term

  • State Rep. Terri Bryant discusses the upcoming football season with members of the Du Quoin Indians at the city's annual "Back to School Bash" on Aug. 9.

    State Rep. Terri Bryant discusses the upcoming football season with members of the Du Quoin Indians at the city's annual "Back to School Bash" on Aug. 9.
    Holly Kee photo

Staff report
updated: 8/28/2019 9:52 AM

State Rep. Terri Bryant says she will run for the 58th state Senate seat, in the wake of Paul Schimpf's announcement that he will not seek re-election in 2020.

In a Tuesday morning news release, Bryant, a Republican from Murphysboro, said the people of southern Illinois deserve a state senator with a strong conservative record. She was elected to the 115th house seat in 2014 and reelected in 2018.

"I have voted no on Mike Madigan for Speaker of the House every time I've had the chance," Bryant said in the release. "I voted no on the progressive income tax hike proposal, no on unrestricted taxpayer funding for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, no on overreaching gun control legislation, and no on legalizing recreational cannabis."

No other candidates have so far announced for the Republican primary in the 58th state Senate District. The district covers much of southwestern Illinois including Randolph, Perry and Jackson counties, and encompasses the 115th and 116th state House districts. State Sen. Paul Schimpf announced last week he will finish out his first term in the Senate but will not file to run in the 2020 Republican primary.

"Although I am honored to represent the people of the 58th District in Springfield and enjoy serving as their state senator, I am unable to commit to serving an additional term that would start in 2021," the statement reads.

"Therefore, I will not be a candidate for re-election in the upcoming campaign cycle. I will continue to serve as state senator and I am focused on making the remainder of my term as effective as possible for the people of southern Illinois."

Schimpf, from Waterloo, was elected in 2016.

Bryant's release focused on her conservative credentials. "I am running ... to fight against the liberal-progressive agenda being pushed on the people of Southern Illinois by corrupt Chicago politicians," Bryant said. "As your next state senator, I will work to stamp out corruption, reign in out of control spending, and defend our Constitutional rights."

"I will continue to stand against the leftist-progressive transformation of our once great state of Illinois."

In her first full term as state representative, Bryant was the chief sponsor of six bills that were signed into law. One of those, "Molly's Law", extends the statute of limitations for victims' families to sue in cases of wrongful death that remain suspicious. It was named for Molly Young, who died in 2012 from a gunshot wound to the head. Authorities classed her death as suicide, but her father, Larry, believes she was murdered.

During the spring 2019 legislative Session, Bryant voted no on several legislative initiatives that she said were too far to the left of the political scale. Bryant was one of a handful of Republicans state representatives who crossed the aisle in 2017 to end the two-year-plus budget impasse, voting with Democrats to override then-Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto. Bryant did it, she said, because of the immense harm being done to southern Illinoisans by the impasse.