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Bakery Owner Could Challenge Pizza Owner in Illinois

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Several local Democratic officials have expressed interest in challenging Rep. Bobby Schilling (R) for Illinois' 17th district seat.

Freshman Rep. Bobby Schilling’s (R-Ill.) re-election bid could come down to a choice between pizza and bread.

Illinois state Sen. Dave Koehler (D) announced Monday that he is challenging Schilling in the new 17th district. Koehler and his wife own the Peoria Bread Co., a whole-grain bakery. That could make for a mouth-watering matchup against Schilling, who owns a successful pizzeria in East Moline.

“I am proud of our community, and I am proud to have raised a family here in Peoria and that our children chose to make a home here as well,” Koehler said.

Koehler’s announcement comes a few days before Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is expected to sign the new Congressional map into law — a map that drastically alters Schilling’s current district by moving it up into the northwest corner of the state and including Peoria. These changes result in a more Democratic-leaning district.

Former two-term Rep. Phil Hare (D), who lost to Schilling by 10 points last November, told a local newspaper last week that he was not interested in running for his former seat.

Several other local Democratic officials have expressed interest in running against Schilling, but Koehler appears to have one big thing going for him. The Illinois-based political tip sheet Capitol Fax reported that Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D) played a role in getting him into the race, which means he could have the Senator’s backing in a Democratic primary.

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