Three-man race for U.S. Representative


U.S. Representative of the 12th District
Incumbent Mike Bost is facing opposition from Brendan Kelly and Randall Auxier in the race for U.S. Representative. Bost and Kelly are in a closely contested race that has drawn national interest.

The 12th District is the only contested Congressional race where the Democratic challenger in Illinois received more primary votes than the Republican incumbent.

Mike Bost

Mike Bost
Republican Mike Bost of Murphysboro is seeking to retain the office of U.S. Representative of the 12th Illinois Congressional District.

Bost, 58, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of corporal E-4.

“Southern Illinois is home. I raised a family and ran a small business here,” Bost said. “I ran for Congress to fight for our values and stop the D.C. politicians from hurting working families. We’ve made great progress and are bringing jobs back. I look forward to continuing our work together.”

If elected, Bost hopes to better protect jobs, veterans and schools. 

“(I’ll) fight for fair trade and to bring back 800 metro-east steel jobs; (for) passing legislation to reform the VA appeals process so veterans can receive benefits faster; (for) passing bills to make schools safer and to combat the opioid epidemic,” he said.

Bost believes the key issue facing his legislative district is jobs.  

“It’s why I have led the fight to stop foreign nations from cheating the trade rules and destroying our jobs.  It’s why I’ve worked to cut D.C. overregulation on our small businesses.  And it’s why I am fighting to make our schools safer,” he said.

Bost is a member of the  Steel Caucus, for which he serves as chairman, the Biofuels Caucus, the Veterans Caucus and the School Safety Task Force.

He and his wife, Tracy, have three children and 11 grandchildren.

Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly
Democrat Brendan Kelly of Swansea, is challenging Mike Bost for the office of  U.S. Representative of the 12th Illinois Congressional District.

Kelly, 42, is the St. Clair County State’s Attorney. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in government and international relations and graduated with a commission in the U.S. Navy. 

After serving around the world, he earned his law degree from Saint Louis University.

“We know that the country is deeply divided, and while those divisions are happening and while we are arguing over the controversy of the day, the scandal of the day or the tweet of the day, we are missing what is going on at the top,” Kelly said. “The people in power now, who control Congress, are enabling the growing division in our country.”

Kelly believes it’s time to start rebuilding the country.

“We live in the greatest country in the world. Yet everyday in Southern Illinois our kids struggle to access high speed Internet, our bridges crumble, potholes riddle our roads, and sewage leaks into police stations built 75 years ago. Whole communities lose access to clean water because rusty, breaking pipes haven’t been updated in decades. This is not what life in Southern Illinois should be. We must do better,” he said.

If elected, among Kelly’s priorities would be to update Southern Illinois’ energy grid to be less susceptible to foreign influences and put union workers back on the job.

“Political and economic power is being consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. They have a vested interest in seeing us divided and torn apart,” he added.

He is not afraid to take on “big pharma” to hold them responsible for the opioid crisis, and to fight for those without voices, including children. 

Kelly and his wife, Joanne, have two sons: Zac and Owen.

Randall Auxier

Randall Auxier
Green Party candidate Randall Auxier of Murphysboro is also hoping to unseat Bost.

Auxier, 57, is a professor of philosophy and communication studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“I think of democracy as a messy but workable system that can never be dictated from the top down,” Auxier said. “Generally speaking, meaningful change is slow and it comes when the weight of the peoples’ will enables leaders to act. A leader who gets too far ahead of the peoples deliberation is probably behaving not as a leader but as a kind of drum major, to use MLK’s words. Real leaders are peers, not directors.”

Among the issues Auxier believes are important to the country are universal healthcare, socially subsidized housing and open borders.

He has been married to this wife, Gaye, for 30 years.

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