Founding member of Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com and longtime conservative activist Mike Flynn is running for Congress in the now-vacated 18th Congressional District seat in Illinois.
The seat once held by now-disgraced Congressman Aaron Schock is one of Illinois’ larger districts and encompasses a portion of Central Illinois, including the state’s capital of Springfield.
Flynn, 47, a sixth-generation resident of Illinois, says he is running so that the state Republican Party establishment will not think they can just coronate the son of a well-known liberal state politician as its handpicked candidate.
“The start of my campaign means the voters in Central Illinois will have an election, not a coronation, for their voice in Congress,” Flynn told Breitbart. “The entire Republican party structure was lined up behind my opponent before other candidates had even decided whether or not they would run. Party leaders endorsed before knowing who was running. That’s not a political party; that’s a racket.”
The party elites have picked state Senator Darin LaHood to run for the seat. LaHood is the son of liberal Republican Ray LaHood, who was picked to serve as Obama’s transportation secretary. Darin LaHood represents yet another Illinois political dynasty, a dubious Illinois practice that often sees father and son politicians both going to jail.
“This is a longstanding conservative district, and I think the people who live there are annoyed by their representation,” Flynn said in March. “It’s the same story all over Illinois. I don’t know what these elected officials are doing. We have these professional politicians who are totally failing us.”
“Our government has been captured by a permanent political class,” Flynn said, continuing the theme. “Every election, its the same names on the ballot. They switch offices and trade endorsements, but they live separate from the rest of us.” He added that “8 of the 10 richest counties in America are in the DC metro area. This racket has gotten us into the mess we’re in. More of the same is not going to get us out of it.”
Though he has developed a reputation for fiscal conservatism, Darin LaHood also has an anti-gun history and a record as a bad federal prosecutor who was essentially sanctioned by his bosses in prosecutors’ offices in both Illinois and Nevada.
Flynn says he has started seeing the results of his announcement.
“The grassroots is getting energized again,” he said, elaborating:
In just a week, we got twice the number of signatures needed to get on the ballot. That happened because average Republican voters want a choice for Congress. A congressional seat is not a family bauble to be passed down generations. My opponent has been appointed to every political office he’s held. He’s never won the support of voters, just party bosses. I’m excited we’re going to have a real debate about our future. Central Illinois doesn’t need another go-along voice allowing amnesty by default.
Already, National Review writer John Fund is calling Flynn’s announcement the “first big confrontation between the GOP establishment and the party’s restless grassroots” of the coming campaign season.
Flynn was a former policy director for the American Legislative Exchange Council and was a key player in helping Andrew Breitbart with his Breitbart News empire.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at email@example.com.