This 27-year-old former international model is challenging Bost in the GOP primary

A Benton man is challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, for the Republican nomination in the 12th congressional district.

Preston Nelson, 27, and a network service technician for wireless internet company 4SIWI in Marion, is aiming to be the youngest representative in Congress. He has worked in restaurants, modeled in Brazil and China, and taught English. He characterizes himself as a libertarian activist.

“I am running to save the world from more foreign policy disaster which has left many millions dead and displaced in recent decades,” Nelson said. “The whole establishment seems content so long as the military industrial complex profits, even as the U.S. enables Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen. All this while our nation plunges dangerously in debt. Scaling back, we will immediately save billions of dollars, making possible big tax relief.”

Nelson has yet to file paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission about his candidacy but said he is gathering nominating signatures to get on the ballot.

Nelson said he plans to raise money and run advertising closer to the March primary election, with hopes of unseating Bost.

“Common-sense Libertarian values — rights to life, property and privacy — go right up most Southern Illinoisan alleys,” Nelson said. “If nothing else, I want to give voters an option for something other than the status quo.”

He says he is more conservative than Bost and has reached out to Breibart News Network headed by former White House adviser Steve Bannon. Nelson has not heard back yet.

Through the third quarter of this year, Bost has raised more than $713,000 for a re-election campaign and had nearly $533,800 of cash on hand, according to FEC reports.

On the Democratic side, St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, Dean Pruitt, of Milstadt; David Bequette, of Columbia; Pat McMahan, of Mascoutah; and Chris Miller, of Roxana, are vying for the nomination.

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