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Central Illinois Republican credits one endorsement for his GOP win. It wasn’t Trump or Bailey

Bill Hauter standing in front of U.S. Capitol building
Dr. Bill Hauter defeated Mary Burress in a primary race for the Illinois House of Representatives in the 87th District.

A conservative who had the backing of Republican nominee for governor Darren Bailey says that's not the key endorsement that helped deliver his victory in his Illinois House primary.

Bill Hauter, an emergency room physician from Morton, said his campaign got a big boost from Keith Sommer. He's the retiring state legislator who represented a portion of the new 87th District, a heavily rural area that stretches to parts of six counties between Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Springfield and Decatur.

“Keith has so much respect in the district and when he endorsed me, it was really an important thing for me,” Hauter said.

Hauter defeated Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress in the GOP primary on Tuesday. No Democrats have filed in the general election.

Bailey, who cruised to victory in a crowded primary for governor and had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, had backed Hauter and several other state House candidates.

Hauter said he was able to form an alliance with Bailey over their push against the political establishment, noting Burress received financial help from Rep. Tim Butler and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin.

“I don’t like the fact that (the Republican party) wasted all this money against other Republicans, and we could have used that against the progressive liberals,” Hauter said.

COVID restrictions

Bailey, Hauter and several other Republican candidates won campaigns in which they targeted what Hauter calls the Pritzker administration's “authoritarian” protocols regarding COVID-19. Hauter said he's not anti-vaccine, but he said many COVID mandates and restrictions went too far.

“I just had a lot of approaches that were very reasonable and to the district, I share their conservative values,” Hauter said.

The Pritzker administration has defended the safeguards it put in place to reduce the spread of a virus that has claimed more than 34,000 lives in Illinois.

Hauter said he plans to resign from his seat on the Tazewell County Board.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.