Establishment GOP Candidate Darin LaHood’s Manager Allegedly Shoves Reporter, Charges Filed

AP Photo/John O’Connor
AP Photo/John O’Connor

In the race for the Illinois 18th District’s special election, GOP establishment candidate Darin LaHood finally agreed to face his challenger. But after he evaded a question during the event, a local reporter tried to ask the candidate about the issue as he left the venue. Instead of getting an answer, LaHood’s campaign manager rushed forward and physically attacked the reporter, pushing him away from the candidate. Now the reporter has filed charges.

After refusing to debate his opponent for months, GOP establishment candidate Darin LaHood finally agreed to face his challenger, conservative Mike Flynn. LaHood, though, placed a series of severe limitations on the debate in an attempt to limit any actual discussion of the issues.

For one, LaHood insisted that the candidates would not be allowed to address each other or speak to each other. In another case he demanded that all answers be limited to 90 scant seconds.

The debate was finally scheduled, though, and went off on Wednesday evening. During the debate LaHood essentially ducked answering a question about term limits, something he nominally supports even as he has been all over the map on just what that support means.

LaHood has long been an advocate of term limits but it seems that the number of terms he’d limit an elected official to is as elastic as former 18th District Congressman Aaron Schock’s checkbook.

LaHood has often revealed a confused record on term limits. Sometimes LaHood says that he would limit elected officials to three terms. But in other interviews he has also said six terms and eight terms. Then at other times he leaves specific numbers out entirely and just says he “favors” term limits.

During the Tuesday debate with opponent Mike Flynn, LaHood was again asked about his ideas on term limits. The moderator tried at least three times to get the LaHood to commit to a number, but LaHood kept trying to evade the question. After being asked several times, echoing the other candidates in the debate, LaHood finally said, “I want everybody to serve three terms.” (Audio of the debate can be heard here.)

With LaHood’s obvious desire to avoid being specific on the issue, after the event concluded a local reporter for WRPW “Cities” 92.9 FM Talk radio approached LaHood and began to ask about term limits.

Instead of allowing his candidate to answer — or better yet, simply telling the reporter “no comment” — LaHood’s campaign manager, James Reis, was witnessed physically shoving the reporter away from the candidate.

“LaHood thinks that recent attacks on my program by local government gives him the right to instruct his campaign manager to assault my staff,” WRPW host Ian Bayne said in a statement. “We just want Senator LaHood to tell us how many terms he intends to serve in congress, he won’t answer, and would rather assault us than answer the question.”

Bayne and his reporter officially filed a police report charging James Reis with assault.

According to insiders, James Reis was hired at the behest of Illinois GOP Governor Bruce Rauner.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at


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