CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — After legislative district changes, one northern Illinois State Representative is now looking to move to the State Senate to represent much of central Illinois.
Currently, State Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) IL-71 represents many districts on the Illinois/Iowa border. Towns like Morrison, Coal Valley, and Colona are a part of her district.
Now, she is eyeing a State Senate run against fellow GOP member Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) IL-37.
Rep. McCombie joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan for On the Record live in-studio Friday morning to talk about her State Senate run.
Question: First and foremost, for those at home who don’t know you just yet, give us a little background into your legislative career here in Illinois.
“I was elected in 2016, I’m from Savannah, Illinois,” Rep. McCombie said. “North of the Quad Cities and South of Galena for those who don’t know where I am. I was elected in 2016, I ran against a Democrat and won by 26 points. It was a bit of a challenging flip there. I’ve now been there five and a half years and now am looking with this remap, what are the next steps?”
Question: And with those next steps, what lead you to this decision?
“I haven’t made the decision yet, I’m still exploring it. Like many colleagues in the House, because of the political gerrymandering signed by Governor Pritzker, we are going to have to make decisions about the next election. For me, no matter which way I turn, I will have to run against a fellow Republican. I’m taking this time right now, while the maps are in court, to explore the district and decide what’s best for my family and the businesses and families I serve.”
Question: What interests you about this District to come here?
“It’s very similar to the one I serve right now. A lot of small communities, who have seen over many years, bad policies coming out of Springfield that has been detrimental. Businesses that were once booming and large, main streets that were busy with hustle and bustle, those are no longer. Because it’s very similar, Whiteside County, which would be the largest County in this new 37th Senate seat, is my current district. I’d just be expanding my services,” Rep. McCombie said.
Question: If you ran for this spot, you’d challenge freshman State Senator Win Stoller. Currently, the Illinois GOP only holds 18 out of 59 seats in the Senate. Talk about the difficulties Republicans are facing right now.
“The most important thing the House and Senate need to figure out is what the goal is. Is the goal to take more seats? Or to keep the seats you have? In my case when I initially ran, it was to take a seat and increase our numbers. When elected after a bad 2018, I was elected to be the House Republican chair, and then in 2020, we were able to flip four seats. With the Senate, I would think the goal would be to increase your numbers to be more relevant in Illinois politics. I don’t think we should just keep seats, I think we should grow the numbers. One way to do that in Central Illinois would be to run against Senator Koehler,” Rep. McCombie said.
This interview was part of Sheehan’s On the Record series.