CHESTER, Ill. (AP)- A panel of 14 Democratic leaders is interviewing seven candidates who want to be the party’s next nominee in the race for a southern Illinois congressional seat.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that ( ) the panel went into closed session Saturday to interview the candidates for the 12th Congressional District race.

The process was begun after nominee Brad Harriman dropped out last month for medical reasons.

Among the panel members is incumbent Rep. Jerry Costello, who isn’t seeking re-election.

The person they choose will face Republican Jason Plummer this fall. Only two people, both Democrats, have represented the 12th District since World War II.

The district stretches from the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis to the state’s southernmost tip and encompasses a large swath of territory that’s economically stressed.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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