Kelly running for Congress - Republic-Times | News

Kelly running for Congress

By on July 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Brendan Kelly

Rumors have circulated for weeks on whether Democratic St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly would make a run for the 12th District Congressional seat.

Last week, those rumors were finally confirmed when the seven-year prosecutor from Swansea announced he will seek to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) in the 2018 election.

“I believe in public service, as evidenced by my time in the Navy and as state’s attorney,” he said of his decision. “People have been coming up to me — friends, family, strangers — saying that I can help. And if you can help your country, you should step up and do what you can.”

Kelly, 41, said he doesn’t like the direction in which the federal government is moving — away from the people it is meant to serve.

“I think the people of southern Illinois are really hurting, and I think Congress is still not listening,” he said. “For years, the elections have been people saying they want a country working for everyone. And still we have the power going to a few people, which is not what everyone wants.”

Kelly is running on the platform of restoring the nation’s trust in Democracy.

“I believe there’s been an increasing lack of trust in our Democratic institutions, and that’s a very, very dangerous thing,” he said. “I want to work with anyone in the public and in both parties to restore that trust. There’s been a lot of divisiveness and tearing apart of our country.”

Kelly was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission a few years after being elected state’s attorney. Additionally, he served as St. Clair County Circuit Clerk for two years and as assistant state’s attorney.

His congressional campaign’s Facebook page lists him as the first state’s attorney in Illinois to file a lawsuit against major pharmaceutical manufacturers for “deceiving patients about the dangers of certain prescribed opioids that have led to addiction, overdose, death and fueled the heroin epidemic.”

For more information on Kelly and his campaign, go to

“We’ll let the Democrats sort out their unsettled nominating process before engaging any particular candidate,” Bost’s communications director, George O’Connor, said of the potential opposition. “Regardless of who they select, their nominee will have a difficult time justifying lockstep support for Nancy Pelosi’s extreme agenda in Washington.

“Rural, blue collar voters have rejected these out-of-touch liberals time and again in special elections across the country this year. That’s not a good sign for whomever we face.”

Other Democratic hopefuls
As many as four other Democrats have announced that they wish to run against Bost in 2018: Adam King of Alton, David Bequette of Columbia, Dean Pruitt of Millstadt and Pat McMahan of Mascoutah. Roxana native Chris Miller is raising money on but has not made a formal announcement.

Miller is a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and founder of The Mission Center L3C.

“I’m running for Congress because I honestly believe that the only hope for a better future for southern Illinois is to make government start working again for middle-class families like mine,” he said.

Pruitt said Kelly’s announcement doesn’t change how he will run his campaign. He also explained that he needs to see where Kelly stands on the issues.

“I’m sure Brendan Kelly is a nice guy. I’m sure he’s a good husband and a good father, and he has local expertise,” Pruitt said. “But does it extend to federal issues or global issues? That remains to be seen. I don’t really know him.”

Bequette shared a similar stance, saying the news doesn’t affect him. In addition, Bequette said he believes being a “political outsider” could give him an edge.

“I’m a political outsider with a wealth of experience in social entrepreneurship, a military background and leadership experience. And I also came from a lower middle class background,” he said. “I know what it’s like to sit at the dinner table as a middle class family.”

King said he is not concerned about facing someone with Kelly’s credentials.

“That Mr. Kelly is a distinguished individual is wonderful. However, so is Mr. Pruitt, with numerous publications and the co-founding of City Museum under his belt,” King said. “So is Mr. Bequette, with his small business knowledge.

“So am I, with my non-profit expertise in providing clean water in developing nations and with my tireless efforts to ensure all veterans received their rightful benefits. The simple fact that Mr. Kelly has been courted by the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) does not warrant a comment.”

King has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. While employed at the National Archives, he helped reconstruct veterans records destroyed in the 1973 fire in St. Louis.

“As a working class Illinoisan, I understand the issues facing our district from the working class standpoint … I promise to work with whatever party I can to pass legislation to help lift the average southern Illinoisan up to a better standard of living,” King said on his campaign website.

Find out more about King at McMahan said he is less concerned with Kelly running and more concerned with the 12th District going to a Democrat.

“We all want the same outcome. So if he’s the one that ends up accomplishing that, returning the seat to the Democratic side, more power to him,” he said, adding, “I’m not at all convinced people want any more career politicians in Congress, but still wish him well.”

McMahan is a realtor at ReMax Signature Properties in Mascoutah.

“It is crucial to America that we get the focus in D.C. back on the middle class and away from the one percent,” according to

Monroe County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Scot Luchtefeld said the Monroe County Democrats are not endorsing any candidates at this time.

Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years.