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GOP candidates for 13th Congressional District look to challenge Budzinski

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(The Center Square) – Two Republicans are squaring off in Illinois’ March 19 primary to take on the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski.

When they approved Illinois’ congressional maps with one fewer seat, statehouse Democrats crafted the 13th District to snake through Illinois from the southwest to include parts of the Metro East then north up to Springfield and east to parts of Decatur and Champaign. Budzinski, D-Springfield, won the newly drawn district in 2022.

Republicans Thomas Clatterbuck of Champaign and Joshua Loyd of Virden are looking to challenge Budzinski in November.

Clatterbuck, a former start-up journalist turned law student, said he has the right experience.

“And I worked for Congressman Mary Miller in her district office and I worked for the Senate Republican Caucus in Springfield,” Clatterbuck told The Center Square. “That’s why I have the legislative experience.”

He also said in his law degree pursuits, he worked on projects with public defenders for disadvantaged communities.

Loyd, who served in the Army National Guard and graduated from Westpoint, said he’s also worked with trades groups. He said he has more real world, non-political experience.

“I’ve worked on both sides of it. I’ve worked with C-Suite executives, I’ve worked with blue collar workers roofing on a new contract,” Loyd told The Center Square.

One issue top of mind is the surge in illegal border crossings at the southern U.S. border with Mexico.

Last month, Budzinski put out a statement with the New Democrat Coalition calling for a Senate funding bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and to “address the broken asylum process” to be called for a vote in the U.S. House.

“While not perfect, this legislation is a good, bipartisan step forward to restore order at the border and fix our broken immigration system,” the statement said.

Clatterbuck said the immigration system needs support.

“That’s not so much a process problem as it is a staffing problem,” he said. “We don’t have enough border agents, we don’t have enough prosecutors, we don’t have enough judges.”

Loyd said first and foremost, the border needs to be closed.

“Why are our taxpayers having to work 40, 50 hours a week, have 50, 60% of their income stolen from them just to be given to someone else who … shouldn’t be here,” Loyd said.

Early voting is underway. The election is March 19.