Former Illinois congressman and Iowa congressional candidate Bobby Schilling dies of cancer

Almost a year after announcing a cancer diagnosis during the 2020 campaign, the former Illinois congressman died Tuesday.


Former representative and Iowa congressional candidate Bobby Schilling

Caleb McCullough, Managing Editor

Bobby Schilling, a one-term Republican Illinois congressman who ran in the 2020 Republican primary to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, died Tuesday from cancer, his son Terry Schilling said.

Terry Schilling announced the news in a tweet early Tuesday evening.

“Today my dad lost his battle with cancer,” Terry Schilling wrote. “He was larger than life and lived his life for God and others. [Bobby Schilling] made the world a better place.”

During his 2020 run for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, Bobby Schilling announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He did not exit the race, but Terry Schilling took over the campaign as the elder Schilling recovered from surgery. Schilling placed 2nd in the primary, with 36.3 percent of the vote compared to current U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ 47.6 percent.

Schilling was elected to represent Illinois’s 17th Congressional District in 2010, which includes the Illinois side of the Quad Cities and runs along the majority of the Illinois-Iowa border. He was defeated by Democrat Cheri Bustos in 2012 and again in 2014.

In July 2019, having moved to LeClaire, Iowa, Schilling announced he would seek the Republican nomination to take the seat of retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack. Miller-Meeks eventually won that primary, as well as the November election.

“Bobby Schilling was a devoted family man, a person of deep faith, and a true patriot,” Miller-Meeks wrote in a tweet Tuesday. “As a member of Congress, he worked hard on behalf of his constituents, and was particularly proud of his work on behalf of America’s veterans.”

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