GOP state House candidates differ on support for incumbent Harris

Both Republicans running for state Rep. David Harris' seat say they wouldn't have voted the way he did last summer to approve a 32 percent income tax increase that ended a multiyear budget impasse.

But one of the candidates in the 53rd state House District Republican primary says he still sides with Harris overall, calling him an "excellent" public servant.

"I respect him for what he's done for my community," said Eddie Corrigan of Arlington Heights, who says many of the people he's spoken with along the campaign trail hold a similar view.

Corrigan, 29, the outreach coordinator for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, said Harris' office has provided great constituent services to residents - something Corrigan promised to make a priority if elected.

Katie Miller of Mount Prospect entered the GOP primary after Harris' vote on the budget. Harris decided in October not to seek re-election, saying at the time he was opposed to "spending $400,000 or $500,000 to get through a divisive primary."

"In the last year, I've not been happy with him, and that's why I'm here," said Miller, 39, a registered nurse at St. Alexius Medical Center's epilepsy clinic and clinical care coordinator at Northwest Community Hospital.

Corrigan says he hasn't received Harris' endorsement, but has support from the House Republican Organization and Republicans of Wheeling Township. Miller is backed by conservative political action committees controlled by talk show host and consultant Dan Proft, and the Republicans of Maine Township.

Miller and Corrigan, both making their first runs for elective office, say they would vote to repeal the income tax increase approved last July.

And both candidates, who label themselves as conservative and pro-life, say they were upset with Gov. Bruce Rauner's approval of a bill that expanded public financing of abortion.

It's an issue state Rep. Jeanne Ives has challenged Rauner on in her primary bid against him. But only Miller would say she supports Ives in the primary; Corrigan said both Ives and Rauner are "great candidates" and he will support whoever wins.

"I'm focused on my race," Corrigan said.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Mark Walker in the general election. Walker, of Arlington Heights, held the seat for two years until he was defeated by Harris in 2010. The 53rd District includes parts of Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights.

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