Republican Bert Miller, owner and former manager of Naperville's Phoenix Closures, entered the crowded Republican primary race for the 11th Congressional District Wednesday saying he wants to emphasize his business experience.
He joins at least state Rep. Darlene Senger of Naperville, Grundy County board member Chris Balkema and Aurora private investigator Ian Bayne in the contest to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster.
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Miller said his company is the largest privately held manufacturer of bottle caps in the U.S., making lids for Coffeemate and peanut butter brands Skippy and Jif.
"They'll find us in their kitchen," Miller said. "I have solid experience in building a business and creating jobs."
Miller said he's been gathering petitions and fundraising for the race. He said he'll contribute to his own campaign but won't fully fund it himself.
The other candidates in the race haven't raised a huge amount of money. Senger has led the group in fundraising but has taken in far less than some other suburban primary candidates.
The run is Miller's first try for political office, which contrasts him with Senger and Balkema. Senger has picked up support of local Republican members of Congress such as U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield.
Miller is former chairman of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, a major player in Illinois politics.
The 11th Congressional District includes Naperville, Aurora, Woodridge, Lisle, Darien, Bolingbrook, North Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet.
Candidates can start filing their petition signatures to get on the ballot the Monday before Thanksgiving.