Illinois Republican 'trying to butter up the crazy right' in primary battle with Hitler-quoting Trump endorsee
Mary Miller speaking with attendees at the 2020 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

A mainstream Republican is facing off against a Hitler-quoting first-term Republican in a newly drawn Illinois congressional district.

Rep. Rodney Davis has represented a swing district in central Illinois since 2012 as one of the GOP's more moderate lawmakers, but the state lost a House seat after the 2020 census and redrew its congressional map to place him in a primary battle against hardcore conservative Rep. Mary Miller -- which drove the veteran lawmaker to the right, reported The Daily Beast.

“Just like the good district man, he is adapting to his district, and his district is changing a little," said Christopher Mooney, a politics professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The newly drawn district is more rural than the one Davis previously represented, and would have backed Trump in 2020 by a 40-point margin, and Miller touts her endorsement by the former president to compensate for virtually no legislative accomplishments, compared to Davis' record.

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Miller was forced to apologize just after starting her first term for approvingly quoting Adolf Hitler at a "Moms for America" rally on Jan. 5, 2021, and her husband's pickup truck bearing a III Percenters sticker was spotted parked outside the U.S. Capitol the following day, when Trump supporters stormed the building.

Polling shows Davis just ahead of Miller, 38 percent to 35 percent, with 27 percent undecided, but Miller's support jumps to 47 percent to Davis' 39 percent when respondents were told that Trump had endorsed Miller.

Davis, who once chaired the moderate Republican Main Street Caucus and was among 35 House Republicans to vote in favor of an independent Jan. 6 commission, has become a prominent critic of the House select committee and promised to use his power to investigate that panel for alleged abuses of power and go after House speaker Nancy Pelosi for her supposed involvement in security failures at the Capitol.

He appeared last week alongside Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to talk about Stephen Colbert staffers getting detained while filming in the Capitol, and shortly before that appeared on a right-wing Newsmax program whose host claimed Pelosi wanted Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh to be assassinated.

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“2012 Rodney would never be on Newsmax,” said Patrick Pfingsten, the communications director for Davis’ first congressional campaign. “He’s trying to butter up the crazy right instead of fighting the crazy left.”

“He’s not a crazy guy, that’s the frustrating part of this,” Pfingsten added. “He’s a smart, independent thinker who, while an insider, is able to still get things done. I don’t want him to make a pact with the devil just to stay in Congress.”