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Rep. Tim Johnson (R)
Rep. Tim Johnson (R)
This would be huge news if true: Illinois tip sheet Capitol Fax is reporting that GOP Rep. Tim Johnson will drop out of the 13th Congressional District race and will supposedly make an announcement on Thursday. (An unnamed Chicago Tribune source confirms.) This is a pretty shocking development, given that Johnson has given no indication that he was less than enthusiastic about seeking re-election, especially since he voluntarily chose to take one for the team and run in a blue-leaning district. Perhaps that's why he wants to quit, though, even though he's only 65: maybe he just didn't want to play the good solider in an election year with the Prairie State's favorite son, Barack Obama, on the top of the ballot.

In any event, state law allows for candidates to be replaced by local committees if they bail after the primary, so Republicans won't be left in the lurch if this comes to pass. In fact, according to Capitol Fax, "Johnson apparently believes that this is now a safe seat since perennial candidate David Gill won the Democratic primary race, so it’s OK to leave without partisan worry." But if that's the case, though—that he truly thinks this race has gone all the way to Safe Republican with Gill as the Dem nominee—then why didn't Republicans spend any money trying to ratfuck the Dem primary? (Also, it's not 100 percent certain yet that Gill has won, though it looks likely.) That sounds extremely overconfident at best, so I'm not entirely buying this explanation. Indeed, according to The Fix, Republicans are supposedly trying to convince Johnson not to go through with his plans to pull the ripcord.

I guess we'll either find out for sure in a day—or else be greeted by some very hot denials from the Johnson camp. And if Johnson does call it quits, regardless of what he might allegedly think, this is definitely good news for Democrats, since there's no potential alternate GOP candidate who would be stronger than he is.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Apr 04, 2012 at 03:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Madison County, Illinois Kossacks, Land of Lincoln Kos, and Daily Kos.

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