Walkout Shimkus Says He'll Stay Through State of the Union Speech

Shimkus faces his first primary battle since '96

By Andrew Greiner
|  Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010  |  Updated 2:31 PM CDT
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Shimkus Won't Walk Out

These two have some stuff to work out.

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Last time President Obama gave a speech before a joint session of Congress, a couple of Republicans didn’t like what he had to say.

Representative Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) grabbed most of the headlines for his “You Lie” outburst, but Illinois congressman John Shimkus (R-Il.) also made a not-so-nice statement about the president’s lofty oratory.

He got up and walked out.

A spokesman for Shimkus says that he has no plans to ditch the speech this time around.

"He wasn't planning to do that either. That just happened on the spur of the moment. That wasn't the plan," spokesman Doug Bugger told the Pantagraph.

Shimkus, a seven-term congressman, wasn’t planning on having a primary battle for the 19th district either. He’s run unopposed since 1996, but after the walkout incident his political armor may have been cracked. The stunt ended up on late night political talk shows and galvanized the opposition by making him the subject of a national fundraising effort.

Tim Bagwell, who's running on the Democratic ticket for the 19th district said he thinks the event might have helped his chances.

“His walking out did accelerate our paperwork," 2004 challenger Tim Bagwell told veteran Springfield political columnist Bernard Schoenburg at the time. 

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