Bloomington Democrat to Challenge Keith Sommer In IL-88

Oct 2, 2019

A Bloomington Democrat will challenge Republican state Rep. Keith Sommer for his seat next year. 

Karla Bailey-Smith said her decision to run against Sommer "comes from a place of righteous anger." She said Sommer votes against everything she holds dear. 

Bailey-Smith owns Artistic Answers, a painting business. She also works as a guest scenic artist for the School of Theatre Arts at Illinois Wesleyan University. She's set to make a formal campaign announcement with the McLean County Democrats at 422 N. Main in downtown Bloomington at 6 p.m. Thursday. 

Sommer has served in the General Assembly since 1999. The Mortonite previously served as the Tazewell County Recorder of Deeds and on the Tazewell County Board before heading into state politics.

Sommer defeated Jill Blair, a Bloomington Democrat, with 59 percent of the vote in the 2018 elections. 

The 88th House District includes Morton, Washington, parts of Bloomington, and much of rural Tazewell and McLean counties. 

Editor's note: Bailey-Smith's primary place of employment is Artistic Answers. She only occasionally works at IWU. We've updated the story.