Illinois Republicans may elect a media-shy, ethics-focused political scion as their newest representative later this year—in other words, the antithesis of resigning Rep. Aaron Schock, the man being replaced. But conservatives aren't all sold on state Sen. Darin LaHood, either, partly because of his family's political history.
LaHood, whose father represented Illinois's 18th District for more than two decades, has emerged as the early favorite to take over from Schock after his ostentatious spending habits brought the congressman down. LaHood could scare off all other serious contenders because in many ways, he looks like a perfect fit for a post-scandal special election.
Start with his family pedigree. Former Rep. Ray LaHood, who served as President Obama's first Transportation secretary, represented the Peoria-based district in understated fashion for more than a decade, a sharp contrast to the jet-setting, big-spending lifestyle Schock showcased on Instagram. Before Schock even announced he would resign, Peoria's Journal Star editorial board noted that "these ethical questions never came up with" his predecessor.
Then there's LaHood the younger's fortuitous focus on ethics reform in the state legislature. LaHood didn't have much success, but it puts him in a perfect position to draw a contrast with Schock, said state Sen. Jason Barickman, a Republican colleague who considered but decided against a bid for Schock's seat.