Lebanese-American launches bid to replace resigned Illinois congressman

Lebanese-American and Illinois state Sen. Darin LaHood announced his candidacy on March 18, 2015, for Congressman Aaron Schock's soon-to-be-vacant congressional seat. (Fred Zwicky, AP 2014)

(PEORIA, IL) — Lebanese-American State Sen. Darin LaHood announced he would run for Congress in a seat vacated by embattled Republican Congressman Aaron Schock.

LaHood, 47, is the son of former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who represented the central and western Illinois district for 14 years.

“This is going to be a competitive race. I’m going to work really hard, and I’m going to leave no stone unturned,” Darin LaHood told WMBD-AM.

Schock announced on Tuesday he would resign at the end of this month, amid mounting allegations that he spent thousands of dollars in lavish office decorations and inappropriate travel reimbursements.

LaHood, a Republican, said he’s disappointed and surprised at Schock’s announcement.

“No one wants to see someone’s career end like that,” LaHood said.

LaHood spent nine years as a state and federal prosecutor before becoming a state senator in Peoria, Illinois.

Political strategists view LaHood as an early frontrunner in a congressional district considered “solid Republican.” He also has name recognition due to his father’s established political record in the area.

Ray LaHood served in Illinois’ 18th Congressional District from 1995 to 2009 before President Obama appointed him as Secretary of Transportation.

Darin LaHood, a Maronite Catholic, is married and has three children. He earned his law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

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