Grassroots Democratic Congressional Challenger Pledges to Fight Trump Republicans in Every Corner of Southeastern Illinois

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First-time Congressional candidate Carl Spoerer versus Republican John Shimkus

I believe we are at a critical moment in American history. We cannot afford to stand by while Donald Trump and his Republican party wage war on the working class. The recent tax cuts were a perfect example - a huge gift to the super-rich and corporations but minimal relief for everyone else.

As early voting in Illinois starts, the race in Illinois 15th Congressional District is heating up. Democratic candidate Carl Spoerer announced his “Illini Pledge” - a promise to fight Trump Republicans and their big money, anti-immigration agenda in every corner of Southeastern Illinois.

Spoerer is challenging Congressman John Shimkus, a 21-year Republican incumbent who has voted with President Trump 98.5% of the time ( Shimkus ran uncontested in 2016, leaving him unaccountable to his constituents and allowing him to neglect his district. Shimkus has consistently voted for Wall Street over Main Street, corporations over unions, and Big Oil over the environment. This past year, Shimkus questioned why men should pay for prenatal coverage during a Congressional hearing on the Affordable Care Act.

Carl Spoerer is a small businessman, a Christian, and a “country boy.” He’s also the volunteer Head Coach of the University of Illinois Women’s Rugby Club. He is not a professional politician, but he entered the race because he felt someone needed to stop President Trump and Congressional Republicans from hurting working-class Americans. His Illini Pledge reflects his background as a University of Illinois coach and his rural, working-class roots.

“We cannot afford to stand by while Donald Trump and his Republican party wage war on the working class,” says Spoerer. “The recent tax cuts were a perfect example - a huge gift to the super rich and corporations but minimal relief for everyone else. Representatives like John Shimkus need to know that Americans expect more from Washington, and this is our chance to step forward and demand change.”

Spoerer is the clear underdog in this race, as southeastern Illinois has historically voted very conservatively (Trump carried the 15th in 2016). However, Coach Carl, as his campaign team calls him, remains undeterred: “Congressman Shimkus has taken this district for granted. In the last year, I’ve done more town halls and community meetings than Shimkus has done in 21 years in office. People have told me that it’s an uphill battle to challenge an incumbent. But I believe that we need to fight in every district of this country for our values and our democracy.”

Spoerer’s campaign has made remarkable progress, driven exclusively by passionate volunteers. He has earned the endorsement of progressive and labor groups across the state and the country including the AFL-CIO, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Citizen Action/Illinois, Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization, Action Metro East, and Coles Progressives. His campaign’s energy has caught the attention of, an organization that is dedicated to bringing cutting-edge technology and digital services to grassroots Democratic campaigns.


Carl Spoerer is a Democratic candidate running for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District, which encompasses Southeastern Illinois. For more information about Carl Spoerer:

Red2Blue Political is an organization bringing digital leadership to all levels of progressive races using the best-in-class messaging technology. Its goal is to redefine the level of access that smaller progressive campaigns have to the industry’s most cutting-edge tools. To learn more about Red2Blue Political, visit

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James Contino

Sandy Mott
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