Tim Johnson (Illinois politician)

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Timothy V. Johnson
Tim Johnson Congressional portrait.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 15th district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byTom Ewing
Succeeded byRodney Davis (Redistricting)
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
In office
January 1977 – January 2001
Preceded bymulti-member district
Succeeded byThomas B. Berns
Constituency52nd district (1977-1983)
104th district (1983-2001)
Member of the Urbana City Council
In office
Personal details
Timothy Vincent Johnson

(1946-07-23)July 23, 1946
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
DiedMay 9, 2022(2022-05-09) (aged 75)
Urbana, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Illinois (BA, JD)

Timothy Vincent Johnson (July 23, 1946 – May 9, 2022) was an American politician and lawyer from Illinois. He was the U.S. representative for Illinois's 15th congressional district, serving from 2001 to 2013. He was a member of the Republican Party and did not run for re-election in 2012.

Early life, education, and early political career

Johnson was born in Champaign to Robert and Margaret Evans Johnson, and spent his childhood in Urbana, where he graduated from Urbana High School.

He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1964,[1] followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Johnson majored in history and graduated in 1969 Phi Beta Kappa, receiving the Bronze tablet,[2] an honor given to the top 3% of undergraduates.[3] In 1972, Johnson graduated with honors from the University of Illinois College of Law and was elected to the Order of the Coif, a national legal honor society.[4][5]

Johnson greets constituents at the annual Mill Creek Lake Steak Fry, held in Edgar County, Illinois.

In 1971, Johnson was elected to the city council of Urbana, Illinois.

Illinois House of Representatives

In 1976, Johnson was elected to serve as a representative in Springfield, after besting five other Republican candidates in the 1976 Republican primary.[4] Johnson remained a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1976 to 2000.[6]

While running for re-election in 1980, a photograph was published showing Johnson had rigged a paper clip so that in his absence he would vote "yes" during any roll call; he initially denied installing it, but later said it was "accepted practice" in the legislature.[7] Twenty years later, when Johnson ran for U.S. Congress, Mike Kelleher, his Democratic rival, had the story documented on a website dedicated to the photograph and Johnson's reactions, saying "It would be funny, if it weren't so serious..."[8]

For most of his career, Johnson represented much of the more rural and conservative portion of Champaign County, along with portions of Ford and Douglas counties. After the 1990 census, Johnson was drawn into the same district as Democrat Helen F. Satterthwaite, who had long represented the other side of Urbana, as well as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. However, the new district was more Johnson's territory than Satterthwaite's; Republicans outnumbered Democrats by almost 3 to 1. It also didn't include Satterthwaite's old base at the U of I.[9] At that election, Johnson won with 60 percent of the vote.[10]

U.S. House of Representatives



In 2004, Johnson raised $533,478 in campaign funds,[11] less than half the national average for a Republican running for reelection ($1,206,138). The 2004 campaign fundraising was about a quarter of the[12] $1,943,630 raised by his initial campaign in 2000; that in turn was nearly double the amount raised by his fellow freshmen Republicans ($1,171,118).[11] Johnson defeated Democratic candidate David Gill 61% to 39% .


In his 2000 campaign, Johnson pledged not to serve more than three terms. However, he ran for re-election in 2008 and 2010. Johnson "underestimated the value of seniority," spokesman Phil Bloomer says of his boss' decision to run for a fifth term. "As a rookie going in, (he) didn't understand what he could accomplish for his district by being there a longer period."[13]

In the 2006 election in November, Johnson again faced Democrat David Gill.

At the end of June 2006, Johnson had over $130,000 available for spending for his 2006 campaign, more than double the total amount raised by his opponent at that point. In the 2006 midterm elections, he was reelected by a slightly narrower 58-42% margin.[14]


Johnson received 64.19% of his district's votes, defeating Democratic nominee Steve Cox.


Johnson defeated Democratic nominee David Gill.


Due to congressional apportionment following the 2010 Census, Johnson's district was renumbered as the 13th District for the 2012 elections.[15] The redrawn district stretched from Champaign-Urbana through Springfield and Bloomington to the outer suburbs of St. Louis. Johnson now found himself in a district that was mostly new to him; he only retained about 30 percent of his former territory.

On March 14, 2012, Johnson endorsed Texas Congressman Ron Paul in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary in Illinois.[16]

On April 5, 2012, just days after winning the Republican nomination for the reconfigured 13th, Johnson announced his retirement from office, to the surprise of many.[17]


Outside of meetings, committee hearings, and votes, Johnson was said to spend "nearly every waking minute" cold-calling his constituents; the practice amounted to calls to "more than a half-million constituents" during his first six terms in office.[15][18]

In the House, Johnson's voting record was the most moderate among Illinois Republicans outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. In 2010, American Conservative Union gave him its second-lowest rating among Illinois Republicans,[citation needed] behind only Mark Steven Kirk of the 10th District. However, he was a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

For each of the 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses Johnson received a score of 0% from the Human Rights Campaign. This was for, among other things, voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have prohibited discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, and for refusing to adopt a written policy for his own office pledging not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in employment decisions.[19] Meanwhile, the Family Research Council, a conservative watchdog, in its most recent scorecard gives Johnson a 100%.[20]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Post congressional career

In 2015, Johnson was elected to the Parkland College Board of Trustees.[24]

As of November 2015, Johnson was petitioning to become a delegate for Senator Marco Rubio's Presidential campaign.[citation needed]

Personal life

Johnson had nine children.[4] He died at his home in Urbana, Illinois, on May 9, 2022, aged 75.[25]

Awards and honors

Johnson was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the then Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn in 2013 in the area of Communications.[26]


  1. ^ Project Vote Smart. Representative Timothy V. Johnson Archived October 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 17, 2006.
  2. ^ University of Illinois. Recipients of the Bronze tablet, 1960s Archived November 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ University of Illinois. Bronze tablet Archived February 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine background information
  4. ^ a b c 15th Congressional District of Illinois. Biography Archived October 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved October 17, 2006.
  5. ^ Associated Press election coverage. Last updated: October 16, 2006.
  6. ^ United States Congress. "Timothy V. Johnson (id: j000285)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  7. ^ Political Briefing; Tale of a Paper Clip Haunts a Candidate, a July 16, 2000 article from The New York Times
  8. ^ "The Proof: It would be funny, if it weren't so serious..." Kelleher for Congress. 2000. Archived from the original on October 19, 2000. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
  9. ^ Steinbacher-Kemp, Bill (October 1992). "Legislative Action: Republicans push for majority in Senate, House". Illinois Issues. Sangamon State University. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - IL State House 104 Race - Nov 03, 1992".
  11. ^ a b "The price of admission". OpenSecrets. Archived from the original on June 1, 2006.
  12. ^ "Total raised and spent, 2000 race, Illinois district 15". OpenSecrets. Archived from the original on November 20, 2006.
  13. ^ Andrea Stone (April 12, 2006). "Term-limit pledges get left behind". USA Today. Retrieved August 11, 2006.
  14. ^ "Elections 2006". CNN.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Newhauser, Daniel (November 14, 2011). "Rep. Timothy Johnson's Expensive Phone Bill". Roll Call. Archived from the original on November 14, 2011.
  16. ^ "US Rep., Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Visits UI Campus". Illinois Public Media. March 15, 2012.
  17. ^ Kleefeld, Eric (April 4, 2012). "Report: GOP Rep. Tim Johnson To Retire Suddenly In Illinois". Talking Points Memo. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012.
  18. ^ Kacich, Tom (May 11, 2022). "Longtime congressman was always only a phone call away". The News-Gazette. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  19. ^ Human Rights Campaign. "Congressional scorecard (2002 - present)". Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved October 31, 2009.
  20. ^ Family Research Council. "Vote Scorecard for the Full Session of the 110th Congress". Retrieved October 31, 2009.
  21. ^ "Final vote results for roll call 204". Retrieved August 12, 2006.
  22. ^ FISA Amendments Act of 2008. Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April 8, 2012.
  23. ^ Sanchez, Julian (June 21, 2008). "Congress pats itself on back as it caves on telecom immunity". Arstechnica.com. Retrieved August 23, 2010.
  24. ^ "Timothy V. Johnson". parkland.edu. Parkland College. 2022. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  25. ^ Kacich, Tom (May 10, 2022). "Former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson dies". The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana). Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  26. ^ "Laureates by Year - The Lincoln Academy of Illinois". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Retrieved March 4, 2016.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by U.S. Representative of Illinois's 15th Congressional District
Succeeded by