Republican challenger rejects Phelps's cousin as House replacement
Republican Patrick Windhorst does not agree with replacing Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) with his cousin Natalie Phelps Finnie, according to a recent statement.
“The 118th District is not the Phelps family seat, " Windhorst said. "Our voice in Springfield is too important to be handed down to the next available Phelps family member."
Phelps Finnie, a Democrat, was recently named to fill Brandon Phelps' seat for the remainder of his term after he resigned on Sept. 1, citing health issues.
Phelps Finnie is also the daughter of former U.S. Rep. David Phelps.
Windhorst, the Massac County state's attorney and a lifelong Southern Illinois resident, stressed the need for change and said that if elected, his priority will be removing House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
“Career politicians, political insiders and the Madigan-Phelps machine have gotten us into this mess," he said in the statement. "We need a conservative outsider to clean it up. From coal miners and farmers to small business owners, laborers and teachers, the hardworking men and women of our community deserve a representative in Springfield that will continue fighting for Southern Illinois."
Phelps Finnie works as a nurse practitioner at the Gallatin County Wellness Center and is a wife and mother of three. At the announcement of her selection to replace her cousin, she addressed the issue of addiction among children, specifically the opiate crisis and said that “innocent children are the ones paying the price.”
“As state representative, I will fight every day to bring good jobs, health care and other vital resources to the hardworking families in Southern Illinois," Phelps Finnie said.
Brandon Phelps served as the representative for the 118th District from 2003 until his resignation.
"It has been my honor to serve the people of the 118th District as their state representative," Phelps said in a statement. "I have worked to represent Southern Illinois to the best of my ability.”
Among his accomplishment as representative, Phelps cited his work to support concealed carry, transportation funding, the state's agriculture, 911 services, and the use of coal, oil, and gas.
"Since day one, I've given it everything I have, because our communities deserve a strong voice to speak up for our values and protect our way of life,” Phelps said in the statement.
He thanked his colleagues, the communities, friends and loved ones,
“It has been my privilege to serve the people of the 118th District," he said in the statement. "My heart will always reside in Southern Illinois."
The 118th District includes the majority of Hamilton County, all of Saline, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, Massac, Johnson, Pulasky and Alexander counties, as well as part of Union and Jackson counties.
The primary election will be held on March 20, 2018, and the general Election will be on Nov. 6, 2018.
Windhorst, who announced his run for the 118th District last month, plans to continue his job as Massac County state's attorney but will step down if elected.