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Will Rep. Rodney Davis run for governor or stay in safe House seat? Met with FOP in Chicago

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Monday, November 22, 2021  |  Article  |  Riley Chloe

— As Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., mulls his 2022 options — another House run or governor bid — he made a noteworthy Chicago stop on Monday: at a meeting with members of the Fraternal Order of Police and other law enforcement officials organized by a House GOP task force.

 

Davis, 51, from downstate Taylorville — a former Hill staffer first elected to Congress in 2012 — is well known in the Capitol but has a slim profile in the Chicago area.

 

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 president John Catanzara — a very strong supporter of former President Donald Trump — just quit his Chicago Police Department job to avoid discipline charges and is flirting with a 2023 run against Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

 

The GOP-friendly FOP hosted on Monday a session with Davis and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the chair of the American Security Task Force, created by House Republicans and with only GOP members.

 

The roundtable included representatives from Chicago FOP Lodge 7, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police union, Illinois FOP Labor Council and Illinois Troopers Lodge 41, a task force spokesperson said.

 

Catanzara told me on Thursday he was at the session.

 

Katko has held similar roundtables in New York City, Portland, Austin and Syracuse. Though Davis is not a member of the task force, he joined Katko.

 

Davis’ attack on Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx — not up for reelection — following the FOP meeting signals a likely law and order theme in a statewide run.

 

“On top of the daily challenges they face on the beat, the law enforcement community shouldn’t have to deal with a Governor and

General Assembly that push anti-police policies or an incompetent, far-left State’s Attorney in Cook County who increasingly drops felony cases involving violent crimes,” Davis said in a statement.

 

“It’s clear the anti-police agenda the Democrats are pushing isn’t working. Our police need elected officials to have their backs. That’s how we promote public safety and reduce crime.”

 

RODNEY DAVIS OPTIONS AND THE KEN GRIFFIN SWEEPSTAKES

Davis said he will make a decision after Pritzker signs, as expected, the new congressional map. Here are some factors to consider:

 

* State Democratic mapmakers drew a safe Republican district for Davis.

 

The wild card here is if freshman Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., an ardent Trumpist who was thrown in a downstate district with Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., decides to take on Davis instead. Candidates don’t have to live in the district they want to represent.

 

* Republicans may well win control of the House in 2022. Davis would likely be a committee chair, rise in leadership ranks and increase his national stature.

 

* Even if Davis beat Pritzker, he would face a miserable governing experience with likely supermajority Democratic state House and Senate chambers.

 

* Hedge fund mogul Ken Griffin, the billionaire, said he was “all in” to beat fellow billionaire Pritzker, which means tens of millions of dollars out of his door. Who to spend it on? Who wins the Ken Griffin sweepstakes?

 

Griffin, the founder and CEO of Chicago-based Citadel, doesn’t have an obvious strong candidate.

 

The four declared GOP candidates for governor — Gary Rabine of Bull Valley; state Sen. Darren Bailey of Xenia; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo; and Jesse Sullivan of Petersburg — are untested and little known.

 

And does Griffin really want to go all in for Bailey, a strong Trumper, currently the best positioned of this bunch?

 

A Griffin money play alone can’t beat Pritzker. Griffin — who doesn’t want to run himself — needs to find someone worth spending tens of millions on.

 

Is that Rodney Davis?

 

GOSAR CENSURE: KINZINGER YES/DAVIS, BOST, MILLER LAHOOD NO

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. were the only two Republicans joining all Democrats in censuring Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., for posting a video of him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

 

Davis, Miller, Bost, and Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., all voted against the Gosar censure.

 

Democratic Party of Illinois Executive Director Abby Witt said in a statement, “Can someone please remind these Republicans that Donald Trump isn’t president anymore? You don’t have to continue to stick your head in the sand when an elected leader posts completely inappropriate violent rhetoric against women on social media.”

 

The DPI also launched digital ads on Facebook and Instagram hitting Davis, Miller, Bost and LaHood for voting no on the infrastructure bill, where Kinzinger was one of 13 Republicans to vote yes. The measure will pump millions of dollars into their districts for projects and programs.