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Illinois GOP Star Aaron Schock Focused On 2012, But Could Be A Force In 2014

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Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Credit: CBS)

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. (Credit: CBS)

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Two of the Republican Party’s biggest stars were shining in Tampa on Wednesday, at the second full day of festivities for the Republican National convention.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) rocked the house in Tampa Wednesday night. Mitt Romney’s running mate in the race against President Barack Obama is clearly one of the rising stars of the Republican Party.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine spoke to another congressman whose name we might soon be hearing a lot more often: Aaron Schock, the Republican congressman from Peoria.

There are more than a few people hoping Schock will be the party’s candidate for governor in two years.

Right now, he’s serving in Congress with Ryan. Schock said the two are pretty close, and work out together every day.

“We go to the gym at 6:30, then we shower up and go to the Ways and Means Committee, where we serve on the same committee. Every day, we meet there, and then on Wednesdays, we have a lunch – the Ways and Means Republicans,” Schock said. “Over the last several years, I’ve gotten to know him, not just as a colleague, but really as a friend.”

Schock, at 31, is the youngest member of Congress, the only congressman born in the 80’s, extremely fit for a congressman, and very photogenic. He’s not only tight with Ryan, but also with Romney.

“I spent week with him on the bus in Iowa,” Schock said.

He’s been everywhere this week, getting the real rock star treatment at the convention. He could soon be a force to be reckoned with in Illinois politics, as well.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said he thinks the sky’s the limit when it comes to Schock’s future in state politics.

“I think it’s unlimited. I think anything he puts his mind to, he can accomplish,” Brady said.

Wednesday morning, at the Illinois delegation breakfast, he followed House Speaker John Boehner, and stole the show.

“A leader with no one following him is like a guy out for a walk, and for the past four years, [President] Barack Obama’s been out for a walk,” Schock said. “Leadership is more than just talking about what you want to do.”

For the next two months, Schock will be campaigning for Romney, coast to coast. Afterward, though, there might be another campaign in his future, a bit closer to home.

Schock has long been rumored to be a likely candidate for governor in 2014, although he wouldn’t say himself whether he plans to run.

“I’m flattered people are talking about it, but right now, honestly, I’m focused on 2012,” Schock said.

Pressed further, Schock described the type of candidate he’d be.

“It’s a blue state. You can’t just have a die-hard republican, you’ve got to have somebody who’s compelling enough that independent and Democrat voters will vote for him,” he said. “My background as a state legislator, before coming to Congress, was holding the most Democratic seat outside of Chicago. I went from getting 4 percent of the African-American vote to 39 percent of the African-American vote, and I’m not afraid to go into heavily Democratic territory and compete.”

Whether he’ll compete for the Republican nomination and run for governor remains to be seen. However, right now – in more ways than one – he’s the hottest thing going for the Illinois GOP.

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