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Birthdate: June 3, 1982
Birth Place: Staunton, IL, United States
Residence: O'Fallon, IL
Religion: Southern Baptist
Jason Plummer was born in Staunton, Ill., and now resides in O'Fallon. He earned a bachelor's in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Plummer serves as vice president of corporate development at R.P. Lumber Co. _ an Edwardsville business founded by his father in 1977 _ and works in related personal and family businesses, focusing on property development and real-estate management and services.
Plummer is also an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He interned with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think thank, before serving as the elected chairman of Madison County's GOP. He serves on the executive board of the Lewis & Clark Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Plummer and his family are members of the First Baptist Church in Maryville.
Jason Plummer made his first significant run at elective office in 2010, narrowly losing as the Republican candidate for Illinois' lieutenant governor.
Now he seeks Illinois' 12th District U.S. House seat being vacated by incumbent Rep. Jerry Costello, a Democrat who announced in October 2011 he would not seek a 13th term. Plummer defeated two challengers in the March 2012 GOP primary to advance to the November general election.
Plummer was set to face Democratic nominee Brad Harriman, a former regional schools superintendent, but Harriman abruptly dropped out of the race on May 29, 2012, citing an unspecified neurological condition.
On June 23, 2012, Democratic county leaders in the 12th District chose Bill Enyart, a Belleville attorney and retired Illinois National Guard commander, to replace Harriman on the November ballot. Enyart, who has never held elected public office, was among seven prospective Democratic nominees who interviewed publicly.
Observers expect the race to be pricey, with Republicans viewing the seat held since World War II by only two Democrats _ Costello since 1988 and Mel Price for 44 years before that _ as one they can flip to the GOP ledger.
The district runs from St. Louis' Illinois suburbs to the state's southernmost tip, encompassing a large swatch of economically stressed territory that Republicans say has been trending more conservative.
Before withdrawing from the race, Harriman hounded Plummer for not following Harriman's lead in making his tax returns public. Plummer maintained he would not campaign on Harriman's schedule.
While many politicians make their tax returns public in a bid to demonstrate that they have no financial problems that might affect their public service, Plummer also defended withholding his returns from voters in his 2010 run for lieutenant governor, saying releasing them would put his family business at a competitive disadvantage and that a candidate's basic financial information shouldn't matter to voters.
"If I start giving people crumbs, no one is ever going to be satisfied," Plummer said at the time during a campaign in which he was dogged by questions about his youth _ he was 28 at the time _ and whether his experience had prepared him to be a heartbeat away from the top office in the state.
Plummer, who at that time cast himself as a fiscal and social conservative who would help the governor rein in spending and create jobs, said his experience in hiring and managing people at the family lumber business had prepared him to run Illinois. Business is "a background where you have to perform or you don't make it," he said.
Plummer, who beat out five other Republican candidates in the 2010 primary while spending more than $1 million of his and his family's money in the process, later lost the general election to Democrat Sheila Simon, the daughter of late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon.
In Plummer's bid to succeed Costello in 2012, his campaign has said he's focused on reining in government spending and reforming the country's tax and regulatory systems so that government gets out of the way of small businesses.
Source: Associated Press
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