Posted Online: July 08, 2013, 7:38 pm

Schilling primed for Congressional election rematch

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By Eric Timmons,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
Former U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling visits with Ron and Sherry Camper of Rapids City Monday afternoon after Schilling announced that he's running for Congress in 2014, hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos.
EAST MOLINE -- Bobby Schilling has launched his campaign to win back the 17th Congressional District seat he lost last year.

The Republican spoke before about 75 supporters who waved American flags and chanted "Bring Bobby back"outside his campaign office in East Moline on Monday.

He'll need to win the Republican primary first. But in a 20-minute speech, Mr. Schilling set his sights on defeating U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, in 2014.

Mr. Schilling lost the 2012 election to Rep. Bustos after being elected in 2010, defeating former Congressman Phil Hare.His 2014 campaign will focus on pocketbook issues that affect ordinary families.

"The middle class is struggling and we're being crushed by rising prices at the grocery store, the gas station and everywhere else," he said. "And Congress is doing nothing to stop it."

Rep. Bustos had no comment on Mr. Schilling's announcement, but her spokesman, Colin Milligan, released a brief statement.

"Congresswoman Bustos is focused on job creation, protecting Medicare and Social Security and serving the middle class families of Illinois' 17th Congressional District, not an election that is over a year away," Mr. Milligan said.

Mr. Schilling tested lines of attack against Rep. Bustos during his announcement, castigating her for not supporting either Democrat or Republican budget proposals.

"We need a leader in Washington, not a Nancy Pelosi clone," he said of Rep. Bustos.

Mr. Schilling also said he plans to embark on a "listening tour" across the district. He asked his supporters to "rise up against those that are taking us down the wrong path."

Rock Island attorney Eric Reyes also is seeking the Republican nomination in the 17th District, which stretches from Peoria in the south to Freeport in the north.