At a Peoria Kiwanis meeting, U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood stumped for Arizona Sen. John McCain, saying the Republican primary candidate could "walk in the White House a year from now and run the country."
U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood believes Republicans have a good chance at winning the White House and is backing Arizona Sen. John McCain for the presidency.
LaHood, R-Peoria, stumped for McCain, the GOP front-runner Thursday, during a South-West Kiwanis meeting at the Radisson Hotel. Calling him a "great patriot" and "great American," LaHood said McCain could "walk in the White House a year from now and run the country."
McCain’s chances for the nomination got a boost with the announcement of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s exit from the race Wednesday and him throwing support toward McCain. LaHood, who has been instrumental in getting millions of federal dollars for projects in his 20-county district, said he does not, however, support McCain’s stance on eliminating member earmarks.
LaHood, who is retiring from his 18th Congressional seat in January, 2009, said this year he will campaign for McCain and his son, Darin LaHood, who is running for Peoria County State’s Attorney. He said he will not make an endorsement for his House seat, but lauded the three GOP candidates for running good, clean campaigns.
"I’m going to vote next Tuesday and I’m going to obviously support one of the three. I think all three have run very good campaigns," LaHood said, adding he will do whatever he can to get a Republican elected to his seat.
On the Democratic side, Colleen Callahan, a former agriculture reporter for local radio and television stations is asking the Democratic Party to be its nominee following former candidate Dick Versace dropping out of the race.
"I think if the Democratic chairmen don’t choose her, they’re missing a good bet. I think she’ll be a very formidable candidate," he said.
Also on Thursday, LaHood discussed immigration, saying the U.S. borders should be closed and that he voted for additional border patrol and more border troops. He wants illegal immigrants to admit to their illegal status, go back to their native country and pay a fine before they are allowed back in America and must learn the English language.
"We also have to have tough penalties against employers who go across the border and handpick people, put them in the back of a truck bring them across the border so they can pick fruits and vegetables, or build houses, or do landscaping work," LaHood said.
Karen McDonald can be reached at 686-3285 or email@example.com.