A four-time unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidate was appointed Friday to a state government post — the same day a top national Democratic recruit made it clear she will run for Congress.
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's appointment of David Gill removes a potential primary spoiler for Ann Callis, a Madison County Circuit Court chief judge. The party has been pursuing Callis for months to challenge freshman GOP Rep. Rodney Davis.
After defeating a top recruit in the 2012 Democratic primary, Gill lost to Davis in the general election for the competitive 13th District. Some Democrats were concerned about a repeat in 2014. Gill was mentioned as recently as this week in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story looking into potential Democratic challengers.
But the move by the Democratic governor likely takes him out of the running and helps clear the path for Callis.
National Democrats invited Callis to inauguration weekend in Washington, D.C., as part of their recruitment effort. The 13th District stretches from the eastern suburbs of St. Louis to Champaign. In 2012, it was split nearly evenly between the two major presidential nominees.
The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported that Callis told the Madison County Judiciary Committee on Friday morning that she was stepping down from her post and would formally announce a campaign for Congress on Monday.
According to a Friday release from the governor's office, Gill has served as a family practice doctor and emergency room physician for more than 20 years. Quinn appointed him as assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“With their commitment to public service, I am confident they will do great things for our state," Quinn said in a statement Friday announcing several appointments.