Rodney Davis (politician)

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Rodney Davis
Rodney Davis official photo 2016.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Judy Biggert
Personal details
Born Rodney Lee Davis
(1970-01-05) January 5, 1970 (age 48)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Shannon Davis
Children 3
Education Millikin University (BA)
Website House website

Rodney Lee Davis (born January 5, 1970)[1] is an American member of Congress who has been the United States Representative for Illinois's 13th congressional district since 2013. Davis successfully ran for re-election in 2014, 2016, and 2018. After Pat Tiberi's resignation shortly after being named Chair of the newly-formed Republican Main Street Congressional Caucus, Davis took over duties as Chair.[2]

Early life and education

Davis was born in Des Moines and is a lifelong resident of Taylorville, Illinois where he attended public school. He graduated from Millikin University in 1992 with a degree in political science.[3]

Early political career

After graduating from college, Davis worked for then-Secretary of State George Ryan. In 1996, he lost a race for the state legislature.[4] In 1998, Davis managed the first re-election campaign for Illinois Congressman John Shimkus. Following the successful campaign, Davis accepted a position on Shimkus' congressional staff.[5]

In 2000, Davis lost his second campaign, this time for mayor of his hometown, Taylorville.[4] Davis served as Shimkus' Projects Director while simultaneously running for Congress.[6]

U.S House of Representatives



On May 19, 2012, the Republican County Chairmen for the 14 Illinois counties comprising the 13th district nominated Davis as the Republican candidate in the 13th District. This district had previously been the 15th, represented by six-term incumbent Republican Tim Johnson, who had announced in April that he would not seek re-election. Other finalists for the nomination were Jerry Clarke, chief of staff to fellow U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren and Johnson's former chief of staff; Erika Harold, a lawyer and winner of Miss America in 2003; and Kathy Wassink, a businesswoman.[6] Davis was coaching his sons' little league baseball game when he was informed that he had been nominated.[7]

Davis narrowly defeated David M. Gill in the general election by a margin of 1,002 votes (0.3%).[8]


On June 13, 2013, former Miss America Erika Harold announced she would run against Davis in the 2014 Republican primary.[9] The primary took place on March 18, 2014.

The Republican field included Davis, Harold, and Michael Firsching.[10] Davis won the primary with 55% of the vote.[10]

Davis faced Democrat Ann Callis in the general election on November 4, 2014.[11] He was reportedly a top target for the Democrats[12] but won the general election with 59% of the vote.[13][14]


Davis won re-election in 2016. He defeated Ethan Vandersand in the primary and faced Democrat Mark Wicklund and independent David Gill in the general election on November 8, 2016.[15] Davis received 59.7% of the vote.[16]


On March 20, 2018, Betsy Londrigan won the Democratic primary in District 13 with over 45% of the vote, beating Erik Jones, David Gill, Jonathan Ebel, and Angel Sides.[17]

In May 2018, the American Federation of Government Employees endorsed Davis for re-election. AFGE District 7 National Vice President Dorothy James said, “We hope that Rep. Davis will continue his good work on Capitol Hill for years to come and are happy to announce our support for him today.”[18]


Davis is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership,[19] the Veterinary Medicine Caucus[20] and the Climate Solutions Caucus.[21] As of March 2018, Davis had voted "in line with" Donald Trump's position 96.5 percent of the time, according to the "Trump Score."[22]

He said in a June 2018 interview that “we`ve got to stop this politicizing everything like dinner. He added that “Donald Trump was elected, in my opinion, because of this move toward making everything politically correct in this country.”[23]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Davis was ranked as the 23rd most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress (and the second most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).[24]


In 2015, he voted to lift a ban on travel to Cuba.[25]

Government shutdown

Davis voted for H.J.Res.59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014, which resulted in the Government Shutdown of 2013. After the vote, Politico reported that Davis also intended to vote for a bill that would end the shutdown, stressing that an agreement needed to be made and that "Like most of those I represent, I remain opposed to Obamacare, but a government shutdown is absolutely unacceptable."[26][27][28][29][30]

Gun rights

In March 2018, Davis stood against gun reform in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting.[31]

Health care

Davis voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.[32] On May 4, 2017, Davis voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA).[33][34] During his re-election campaign, Davis falsely claimed that The Washington Post fact-checker had found his opponent's claims about the impact of Obamacare's repeal on preexisting conditions to be false. The Washington Post fact-checker responded, saying that Davis was "twisting an unrelated fact check and [was] misleading voters."[35]


In June 2016, Davis cast the deciding vote on a bill to retain the ability of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to join the U.S. military. The program would allow a quicker pathway to citizenship for those who serve.[25]

In September 2017, some constituents protested Davis' opposition to extending the DACA legislation without concurrent funding for a border wall.[36]

In June 2018, Davis told an interviewer that he hoped to co-sponsor a “stand-alone bill” that would address the separation of adult illegal aliens at the Mexican border from the children accompanying them. He expressed optimism that the Congress could come up with some compromise on these issues.[23]

Tax reform

Davis voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[37]

Davis said the tax bill will improve the economy without impacting the deficit. He said Americans will see "more money in the pockets" come February 2018 as a result of the bill.[38]

In a December 26, 2017, interview on CNN, Davis said that the U.S. would see increase tax revenue because of the economic growth resulting from the tax cut, and this, in turn, would bring down the national deficit.[39]


In an April 2018 interview, Davis expressed concern about the impact of proposed tariffs on Illinois soybean farmers and other Illinois agricultural workers, but was glad that President Trump had given “a lot of free reign” to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Davis highlighted unfair trade practices by China and noted the adverse effect on the domestic steel industry.[40]

In a June 2018 interview, he reiterated concern about some of President Trump's proposed tariffs impact on his constituents as well as their impact on certain foreign countries. Although he felt “the president was right to actually address the steel discrepancy that he saw from countries like China,” he wished that Trump “would focus on...actors like China rather than punishing our allies.”[41]


Davis introduced the Hire More Heroes Act of 2013 into the House on November 13, 2013. The bill would allow employers to exclude veterans receiving health insurance from the United States Department of Defense or the United States Department of Veterans' Affairs from their list of employees.[42][43]

This would have had the effect of keeping their list of employees shorter, allowing some small businesses to fall underneath the 50 full-time employees line that would require them to provide their employees with healthcare under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.[43][44] Davis said that the bill "gives our small businesses another incentive to hire veterans, which helps to address the increasing number of unemployed veterans, while providing them with some relief from ObamaCare."[44]

Women's rights

He voted to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act.[45]


Davis is anti-abortion, opposes public abortion funding, and is against religious institutions being required to offer health plans that include coverage for birth control.[46]


Davis has cast several votes in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

Davis has a "B" rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. Davis supports veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He supports industrial hemp farming and medical marijuana research.[47]

Personal life

Davis and his wife Shannon wed in 1995, and the couple currently lives in Taylorville, Illinois.[48] They have three children.[6]

Davis holds various positions throughout his community. He serves on the Board of Education for St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, where his family are parishioners and where he serves as volunteer athletic director.[49] He coaches Taylorville Junior Football, is a member of the Taylorville Optimist Club, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Christian County Senior Center.[1]

Davis plays catcher for the GOP team in the Congressional Baseball Game, held annually for charity.[50]


  1. ^ a b "Rodney Davis' Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Is there room for another GOP caucus? Main Street chairman says yes
  3. ^ "Congressman Rodney Davis '92 returns to Millikin as part of Constitution Week". Millikin University. September 19, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "DAVIS profile". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  5. ^ Gangitano, Alex (June 23, 2016). "Staffer Member Duo Turned Catcher Pitcher Teammates". Roll Call. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Petty, Allison (May 19, 2012). "GOP picks Rodney Davis to face Gill". Bloomington Pantagraph.
  7. ^ "GOP chooses Davis for US Rep. Tim Johnson's seat". Associated Press. May 19, 2012.
  8. ^ "Ballots Cast". Illinois State Board of Election. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Last, Jonathan V. "Miss America vs. Mr. Incumbent". The Weekly Standard.
  10. ^ a b Official Illinois State Board of Elections Results Archived 2015-01-28 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  11. ^ Cahn, Emily (March 18, 2014). "Ann Callis, Rodney Davis to Face Off in Targeted Illinois District". Roll Call. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Camia, Catalina. Ex-Miss America Erika Harold begins campaign for Congress, USA Today, June 4, 2013; retrieved March 3, 2015.
  13. ^ "Illinois General Election 2014". Illinois State Board of Elections. November 4, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  14. ^ Kacich, Tom "Davis: 'An Opportunity' for Republicans", The News Gazette, November 5, 2014; retrieved May 27, 2016.
  15. ^ Kacich, Tom (July 19, 2016). "Davis has monumental advantage in campaign money". The News-Gazette. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  16. ^ "2016 Illinois House Election Results". Politico. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  17. ^ "Illinois' 13th Congressional District election, 2018 - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  18. ^ AFGE Endorses Rep. Rodney Davis for Reelection; PR Newswire; May 22, 2018;
  19. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Members of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus". Veterinary Medicine Caucus. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  21. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  22. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron (2017-01-30). "Tracking Rodney Davis In The Age Of Trump". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  23. ^ a b Rep. Davis “optimistic” House will vote on family separation policy; MSCNBC; June 24, 2018;
  24. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017
  25. ^ a b Raasch, Chuck (July 4, 2016). "Rep. Rodney Davis is a Republican with an occasional twist". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 504". Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  27. ^ "H.J.Res.59 – Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014". Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  28. ^ ISENSTADT, ALEX (October 1, 2013). "Vulnerable Republicans: End the shutdown". Politico. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  29. ^ "Legislation-Joint Resolution – Concurrence Vote Passed (House) (228-201) – Sept. 30, 2013". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  30. ^ "How Rodney Davis voted on key votes". Washington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  31. ^ Schlenker, Charlie; Rodney Davis Stands Firm For Second Amendment; NPR; March 29, 2018;
  32. ^ Mike Fitzgerald (December 3, 2013). "Health care glitches put twist on local congressional races". Archived from the original on April 16, 2014.
  33. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  34. ^ Staff, CNN. "How every member voted on health care bill". CNN. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  35. ^ "Analysis | These Republicans are misleading voters about our Obamacare fact checks". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  36. ^ [email protected], Derek Beigh. "Residents frustrated with Davis over DACA". Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  37. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  38. ^ Wolfe, Doug. "Davis: Tax cut money will not come from Medicare". WAND17. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  39. ^ Davis Joins CNN Newsroom to Discuss Health Care Reform; CNN; April 5, 2017;
  40. ^ Davis Discusses Unfair Trade with China on CNN; CNN; April 6, 2018
  41. ^ Rep. Davis Wants Trump to Focus on 'Bad Actors' Like China; Bloomberg; June 27, 2018;
  42. ^ "H.R. 3474 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  43. ^ a b Hultgren, Randy (January 13, 2014). "Let's Give Jobs to Veterans: Hultgren Supports Hire More Heroes Act". Osqego Patch. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  44. ^ a b Kasperowicz, Pete (March 10, 2014). "GOP eyes Dem help on ObamaCare". The Hill. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  45. ^ Bill Lambrecht (May 20, 2013). "In Illinois, Davis preparing for marathon race for Congress". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  46. ^ "Rodney Davis on Abortion". Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  47. ^ "Illinois Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  48. ^ "Profile". Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  49. ^ Spearie, Steven (August 18, 2015). "Rep. Davis offering 50 U.S. Capitol Lawn tickets to watch video of pope addressing Congress". State Journal-Register. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  50. ^ "Rep. Joe Barton on congressional baseball game, GOP's 7-year losing streak and Democratic superstar Cedric Richmond". Retrieved June 14, 2017.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Judy Biggert
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 13th congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Kevin Cramer
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
John Delaney
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