Former Rep. Schilling announces comeback bid for Illinois seat

Former Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.) will make a comeback bid for his old House seat in Illinois, he announced Monday morning.

"As a father, husband, employer and laborer, I can tell you that the middle class is falling further behind," he said in a statement announcing his rematch against Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.). "The people of Illinois deserve a member of Congress who understands their worries and values, and leads by example.

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"To combat unemployment, stagnant wages and rising prices, the middle class is going to need a lot more than just lip-service and rhetoric. We're going to need a leader from and for the middle class, who puts people ahead of politics and self-promotion," he added.

The one-term former congressman lost a hard-fought, expensive race to Bustos in 2012 in the northwest Illinois district. Bustos defeated him by 6 percentage points as President Obama won the district by a 17-point margin.

Schilling, a pizza chain owner known as a hard-charging campaigner, is likely Republicans' best hope of making the district competitive in 2014.

Bustos's office declined to discuss Schilling's decision.

"Congresswoman Bustos is focused like a laser on job creation, protecting Medicare and Social Security and serving the people of Illinois' 17th congressional district, not an election that is over a year away," Bustos spokesman Colin Milligan told The Hill.

Schilling's bid comes as no surprise — national Republicans have expected for months that he would take another shot at the seat.

He isn't the only Illinois Republican hoping to make a comeback this year. Former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) has already announced a bid against Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.).

This post was updated at 10:25 a.m.