Darin McKay LaHood (/ləˈhʊd/; born July 5, 1968)[1] is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 18th congressional district since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he previously was the member of the Illinois Senate from the seven-county 37th legislative district (2011–2015).[2] He was elected to Congress in a special election following the resignation of Aaron Schock.

LaHood, a native of Peoria, Illinois, is the son of Ray LaHood,[3][4] the 16th United States Secretary of Transportation and before then seven-term U.S. Representative for the district his son currently represents. He has called himself a fiscal conservative focused on budget issues.[5] While Ray was a moderate Republican, Darin is considered more conservative.[6][7]

Early life

LaHood was born in Peoria, Illinois, to Kathy (Dunk) and Ray LaHood,[8] as the eldest of four siblings, and went to Academy of Our Lady/Spalding Institute.[9] He graduated from Loras College in Iowa and received his Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School.[9] His father is of Lebanese and German descent.

Career as an attorney

LaHood was a prosecutor in the Tazewell County state’s attorney‘s office and the United States Attorney‘s Office for the District of Nevada in Las Vegas.[10] On returning to Peoria in 2005, he took up private law practice; as of 2011 he is in the Peoria law firm of Miller, Hall & Triggs.[5]

Early political career

LaHood ran for Peoria County state’s attorney in 2008, losing to incumbent Kevin Lyons by a margin of 43,208 to 36,449. He was also involved[clarification needed] in several other Republican campaigns, including Bill Brady‘s 2010 campaign for governor and Dan Rutherford‘s campaign for Illinois Treasurer.[5]

LaHood was appointed to the Illinois Senate on February 27, 2011, at the age of 42.[5] He took office March 1, the day after Dale Risinger retired.[11] When appointed, LaHood announced he would run for election to a full term in 2012, which he won, running unopposed.[5][12]

U.S. House of Representatives


2015 special

On July 7, 2015, LaHood defeated Mike Flynn 69%-28% in the GOP Primary to become the Republican candidate for Illinois’ 18th congressional district, replacing Aaron Schock. He faced the Democratic candidate Rob Mellon in the September 10 special general election,[13] easily defeating him with a large percentage of the vote.[14] He was sworn in by House Speaker John Boehner on September 17, 2015.[15]


In the November 8, 2016 general election, LaHood defeated Democratic candidate Junius Rodriguez by a margin of 250,506 (72.1%) to 96,770 (27.9%).[16]


In the November 6, 2018 general election, LaHood faced Rodriguez in a rematch and defeated him by a margin of 195,927 (67.2%) to 95,486 (32.8%).


In the November 3, 2020 general election, LaHood defeated Democratic candidate George Petrilli by a margin of 261,840 (70.41%) to 110,039 (29.59%).


LaHood currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.

On May 25, 2016, LaHood introduced legislation through the Science, Space, and Technology Committee that approved the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Modernization Act of 2016. The NITRD Program was originally authorized by the High Performance Computing Act of 1991. NITRD is the federal government’s primary research portfolio on transformative high-end computing, high-speed networking, high capacity systems software, cybersecurity, and related advanced information technologies.[17]

LaHood drew criticism from constituents for declining to hold an open town hall during the February 2017 recess.[18] Constituents from across the 18th congressional district gathered in Bloomington Normal and Jacksonville to request a town hall to discuss a variety of issues, including access to health care, immigration laws, and the freedom of the press.[19][20][21] LaHood spoke to the demonstrators outside the Farm Bureau building in Peoria who had come to push for a town hall, LaHood stated, “We live in a democracy, people may not always agree with me and that’s why I have to go before voters like I did in November. I was fortunate to receive 72 percent of the vote in that election. But this is part of the process.”[22]

LaHood is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership.[23]

He is a member of the Republican Study Committee.[24]


LaHood voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[25] In a letter to the editor in the State Journal Register, LaHood stated that the bill would help his constituents save money and make businesses more competitive globally, including State Farm Insurance, John Deere, and other local businesses.[26]

During the 116th Congress (2019-2020), LaHood cosponsored the Great American Outdoors Act H.R.1957 [27] establishing the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund for priority deferred maintenance projects on federal lands managed by the National Park Service, the Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Education. In FY2021-FY2025, the fund will accrue up to $1.9 billion per year from revenues on federal lands and waters received from oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy development.

Political positions


LaHood believes that humans “play a role” regarding climate change and that there is “no doubt about that.” Despite this, LaHood has a 0% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters, indicating consistent votes against environmental causes.

Health care

LaHood opposes “able-bodied working men” from accessing Medicaid. He supports the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Regarding single-payer healthcare, LaHood would consider a bill if it was “fiscally sound” and benefited his constituents.[28]

Net neutrality

LaHood opposes net neutrality and believes that revoking it has “zero effect” on privacy or data collection.[28]

Economic issues

LaHood supports tax reform, specifically around corporate loopholes. In April 2017, he stated he would not vote for any tax cut bill unless it was “revenue neutral” so it would not add to the deficit.[28] In December, LaHood voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will add $1.414 trillion to the national debt.[25][29]


LaHood supports immigration reform, including shortening the time that it takes for people to legally enter the United States. He is “100 percent supportive” of expanding the number of individuals allowed to immigrate to the country.[28]


LaHood has a “F” rating from NORML for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes. He opposes the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. LaHood opposes veterans having access to medical marijuana if recommended by their Veterans Health Administration doctor and if it is legal for medicinal purposes in their state of residence. He believes the legalization of medical marijuana increases its illegal use and abuse by teenagers and that it is addictive.[30]

Donald Trump

LaHood believes that Trump should release his tax returns and will vote in favor of requiring it if a bill is presented to the House. Regarding Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago, LaHood believes “more business should be conducted in the White House than in Florida.”[28] LaHood supports the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[28]

In December 2020, LaHood was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[31] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[32][33][34]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of “election subversion.” Additionally, Pelosi reprimanded LaHood and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: “The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.”[35][36] New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, citing section three of the 14th Amendment, called for Pelosi to not seat LaHood and the other Republicans who signed the brief supporting the suit. Pascrell argued that “the text of the 14th Amendment expressly forbids Members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that.”[37]

On January 6, 2021, a mob of U.S citizens illegally entered the U.S. Capitol Building while Congress was in session debating the Electoral College certification. LaHood and his staff were among those kept under police lockdown for over four hours. That evening, LaHood voted to certify Joe Biden as the 46th President-elect. [38]

Electoral history

Peoria County, Illinois State’s Attorney General Election, 2008[39]
Democratic Kevin W. Lyons (incumbent) 25,548 55.57
RepublicanDarin LaHood20,42944.43
Total votes45,977 100.0
Illinois 37th State Senate District General Election, 2012[40]
Republican Darin LaHood (incumbent) 87,838 100.0
Total votes87,838 100.0
Illinois 18th Congressional District Special Republican Primary, 2015[41]
Republican Darin LaHood 45,490 69.54
RepublicanMichael J. Flynn12,59327.68
RepublicanDonald Ray Rients1,2462.74
RepublicanRobin Miller160.03
Total votes45,490 100.0
Illinois 18th Congressional District Special General Election, 2015[42]
Republican Darin LaHood 35,329 68.84
DemocraticRobert Mellon15,97931.14
Write-in votesConstant “Conner” Vlakancic70.01
Write-in votesRoger K. Davis40.01
Total votes51,319 100.0
Illinois 18th Congressional District General Election, 2016[43]
Republican Darin LaHood (incumbent) 250,506 72.13
DemocraticJunius Rodriguez96,77027.86
Write-in votesDon Vance70.00
Total votes347,283 100.0
Illinois 18th Congressional District Republican Primary, 2018[44]
Republican Darin LaHood (incumbent) 61,722 78.87
RepublicanDonald Ray Rients16,53521.13
Total votes78,257 100.0
Illinois 18th Congressional District General Election, 2018[45]
Republican Darin LaHood (incumbent) 195,927 67.23
DemocraticJunius Rodriguez95,48632.77
Total votes291,413 100.0
Illinois’s 18th congressional district, 2020[46][47]
Republican Darin LaHood (incumbent) 261,840 70.41 {{{change}}}
DemocraticGeorge Petrilli110,03929.59
Total votes371,879 100.0

Personal life

LaHood lives in Dunlap, a suburb of Peoria, with his wife Kristen; they married in 2000. They have three children: McKay, Lucas, and Teddy.[48][49]

See also


  1. ^ “Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill”. Roll Call. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  2. ^ “Illinois General Assembly – Senator Biography”. Illinois General Assembly. Archived from the original on December 15, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Dahl, Dave. “Illinois Senate passes workers’ comp reform”. Wjbc.com. Archived from the original on December 18, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  4. ^ “US Congressman Ray LaHood (Archived version from 2003)”. Archived from the original on October 11, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e “Darin LaHood gets nod to replace Risinger on senate”. The Register-Mail. Galesburg, Illinois: GateHouse Media. February 27, 2011. Archived from the original on March 27, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
  6. ^ Dewey, Jim (March 31, 2015). “Darin LaHood Announces Candidacy”. Quincy Journal. Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  7. ^ Fitzpatrick, Jack (March 25, 2015). “Illinois GOP Finds an Anti-Schock to Replace Aaron Schock”. National Journal. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  8. ^ “About LaHood | the Dirksen Congressional Center”.
  9. ^ a b Felsenthal, Carol (July 22, 2015). “Darin LaHood Is Running as the Anti-Aaron Schock”. Chicago Magazine. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  10. ^ Heath, Brad; McCoy, Kevin (December 28, 2010). “Prosecutor misconduct lets convicted off easy”. USA Today. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  11. ^ McDonald, Karen (March 1, 2011). “LaHood eager to serve (Darin LaHood sworn in as newest state senator)”. Peoria Journal Star. Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media. p. B1. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  12. ^ “Re-election assured for unopposed candidates”. Pjstar.com. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  13. ^ Kaergard, Chris (July 7, 2015). “Darin LaHood easily wins GOP nomination for 18th District seat”. Journal Star. Peoria. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  14. ^ “Darin LaHood wins special election to replace ex-U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock”. Chicago Tribune. September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  15. ^ “LaHood takes seat in Congress once occupied by Schock”. Chicago Tribune. September 18, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  16. ^ “Illinois General Election 2016”. Illinois State Board of Elections. November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  17. ^ “Committee Approves NITRD Modernization”. Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. May 25, 2016. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
  18. ^ Franke-Ruta, Garance. “Resistance Report: More than 1 million sign White House petition for Trump’s tax returns, breaking record”. Yahoo News. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  19. ^ Blanchette, David (February 24, 2017). “U.S. Rep. LaHood criticized for dodging constituents’ questions”. Pekin Daily Times. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  20. ^ Kwon, Esther (February 23, 2017). “Protesters Ask For Public Meeting With LaHood”. News Channel 20. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  21. ^ Beigh, Derek (February 24, 2017). “LaHood, protesters: B-N town hall still possible”. Pantagraph. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  22. ^ Jackson, Denise (February 20, 2017). “Protesters confront Congressman Darin Lahood about town hall meeting”. 25newsWeek. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  23. ^ “Members”. Republican Mains Street Partnership. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  24. ^ “Member List”. Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). “How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  26. ^ LaHood, Darin. “Tax Relief: Promises made, promises kept”. The State Journal. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  27. ^ Lewis, John (August 4, 2020). “H.R.1957 – Great American Outdoors Act”. Congress.gov. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  28. ^ a b c d e f Nightengale, Laura. “What U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood said at his town hall”. The State Journal. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  29. ^ Patel, Jugal K.; Parlapiano, Alicia (November 28, 2017). “The Senate’s Official Scorekeeper Says the Republican Tax Plan Would Add $1 Trillion to the Deficit”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  30. ^ “Illinois Scorecard”. NORML. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  31. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). “Biden officially secures enough electors to become president”. AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  32. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). “Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  33. ^ “Order in Pending Case” (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  34. ^ Diaz, Daniella. “Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court”. CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  35. ^ Smith, David (December 12, 2020). “Supreme court rejects Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn election results”. The Guardian. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  36. ^ “Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Rejecting GOP Election Sabotage Lawsuit” (Press release). Speaker Nancy Pelosi. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  37. ^ Williams, Jordan (December 11, 2020). “Democrat asks Pelosi to refuse to seat lawmakers supporting Trump’s election challenges”. TheHill. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  38. ^ Kravetz, Andy (December 8, 2020). “Darin LaHood was leaving House chamber as ‘rambunctious’ mob was coming up Capitol steps”. The Pantagraph. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  39. ^ “Cumulative Report — Official Peoria Board of Election Commissioners — General Election — November 04, 2008”. Peoria County Elections, IL. Peoria County Board of Elections Commissioners. November 19, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  40. ^ “Election Results 2012 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  41. ^ “Election Results 2015 SPECIAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  42. ^ “Election Results 2015 SPECIAL GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  43. ^ “Election Results 2016 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  44. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  45. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  46. ^ “Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. December 4, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  47. ^ “Illinois 2020 Election Results”. Chicago Sun-Times. November 20, 2020. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  48. ^ “ABOUT DARIN”. lahoodforcongress.com. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  49. ^ “LaHood announces bid for Congress to fill Schock vacancy”. Illinois Review. March 18, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2015.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Aaron Schock
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois’s 18th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Trent Kelly
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Warren Davidson