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Biography Bobby Schilling

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Bobby Schilling Bobby Schilling
Bobby Schilling
Former U.S. Representative for Illinois's 17th congressional district.


Bobby Schilling Biography

ENG: Robert Todd "Bobby" Schilling (born January 23, 1964) is the former U.S. Representative for Illinois's 17th congressional district, serving since 2011. Schilling is a member of the Republican Party. Schilling challenged incumbent Democrat Phil Hare in the November 2010 election, and defeated Hare by ten points. In the November 2012 elections, he was defeated by Democrat Cheri Bustos.


Early life, education, and business career

Schilling was born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois. He graduated from Alleman Catholic High School and attended Black Hawk College.

Schilling worked at Container Corporation of America between 1983 and 1987 and was a union steward for the local chapter of the United Paper Workers International Union. He then worked as an insurance agent for Prudential Insurance Company between 1987 and 1995, where he was ranked in the top 5% of all Prudential agents during his last year. He was also the treasurer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union for four of those years.

In 1996, he and his wife opened Saint Giuseppe's Heavenly Pizza in Moline, Illinois; the restaurant is still owned by the family and Schilling ran the restaurant until taking office, when he left his son in charge. According to public personal financial disclosures, Schilling's restaurant has dropped in value from a range of $100,000 to $250,000 down to between $50,000–$100,000. Schilling's son and campaign manager Terry Schilling said, "The real estate market has really taken a hit in East Moline. It just goes to show that Bobby Schilling has a real stake in this economy."


U.S. House of Representatives - Elections - 2010

Schilling grew up as a Democrat, but has become more conservative over the years and now characterizes himself as a "Reagan Republican." He was also influenced by radio and television personality Glenn Beck. Schilling was one of the 9–12 Candidates, a group led by Beck, and signed the 9–12 contract of principles and values. Schilling has said he was inspired to run for office because he was preparing to franchise his restaurant, but cancelled his plans when he saw then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama telling Joe the Plumber that the government needed to "spread the wealth around." Schilling announced his candidacy in April 2009 and officially filed for the Republican nomination in October 2009.

Schilling vowed not to participate in the congressional pension program, to keep his private health insurance instead of the congressional plan, to donate any pay raises he receives, to limit himself to no more than eight years in Congress, and not to vote for any bill he hasn't read. "I'm not going to make a career out of this," he says.

Early in the campaign, political websites rated the 17th District race "safe Democratic." However, by Election Day the race was rated "leans Republican" by RealClearPolitics, Cook Political Report, CQ Politics, and the New York Times. The race was profiled on CNN as one of the country's top 100 House races, in which they said, "Schilling trails in the overall money race, but he's raised enough to get his message out and give the incumbent something to worry about."

In September 2010 Schilling was named to the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program.

Hare criticized Schilling for living 0.99 miles outside the 17th District, though the Constitution only requires congressmen to live in the state they wish to represent. Schilling's wife notes that the family's restaurant is in the 17th and employs people and pays taxes there. She also says the family fell out of the district because of gerrymandering.

Unopposed in the primary election, in the general election, Schilling won by an unexpectedly large margin, taking 53 percent of the vote to Hare's 43 percent. After the election, Schilling hired as his chief of staff Mike Roman, a political consultant known for posting a video showing alleged voter intimidation during the 2008 presidential election. Roman, along with policy director Scott Tranter, resigned from Schilling's office in April 2011.

Schilling's campaign set an off-year fundraising record for a challenger in the 17th district, amassing about $89,000 in 2009. Schilling's campaign fundraising relied largely on individual donors, who accounted for about 80 percent of the $1 million raised by his campaign. Hare depended more heavily on political action committees, who contributed about two-thirds of his campaigns $1.3 million total. Following his election, Schilling has relied more on political action committees to help retire his campaign debt, with the bulk of his December 2010 fundraising coming from PACs, including Wal-Mart, the American Medical Association, Caterpillar Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Schilling ended the campaign with a total of $1,095,167 raised and $1,078,911 spent.

The following organizations endorsed Schilling in his 2010 run for Congress: The Illinois Federation for the Right to Life PAC; CatholicVote PAC; the Quincy Tea Party group; John Deere PAC; and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Individuals who endorsed Schilling included: U.S. Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL); U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN); former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney; political figure and author Joe the Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher); and, Sgt. John F. Baker, Jr., recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Newspapers were evenly divided in endorsing Schilling over Hare, with the Chicago Tribune and the Sauk Valley News among those supporting Schilling. In October 2010 Schilling was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune.



Schilling ran for re-election in 2012 and faced Democrat and former East Moline City Council Alderwoman Cheri Bustos in the general election. He has been added to the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, which is designed to defend incumbent Republicans. The 17th District boundaries were redrawn by the Democratic-controlled legislature to make it significantly more Democratic. Notably, Quincy, Decatur and the district's share of Springfield were cut out, replaced by portions of Peoria and Rockford. National Journal's Cook Political Report named Schilling one of the top 10 Republicans most vulnerable to redistricting in 2012.

Schilling has raised $1.4 million and had $950,000 cash on hand as of June 30, 2011.

While initially rated as a "lean-Democrat" race by major sites, in September 2012, Roll Call, the Cook Political Report, and the Rothenburg Political Report upgraded the race to "toss-up", with Cook saying Schilling had an advantage.

Schilling was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune, the Rockford Register Star, CatholicVote, the National Rifle Association, former Congressman Tom Railsback, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Galesburg Register-Mail, among other endorsements.

In the November 2012 elections, Bustos defeated Schilling by a 53%-47% margin. According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, Schilling was "looking forward to focusing again on his pizza business after losing a second term."


Personal life

Schilling has been married to Christie Schilling for 25 years and they have ten children (the youngest of whom was born in February 2010) and two grandchildren.





January 30, 2013

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