The smoke hasn’t clear from Tuesday’s election yet because, as I’m writing this, we don’t even know who will be our next President — and may not know for awhile.
However, there are some of the races impacting us locally that have been decided. Incumbent Rodney Davis is the unofficial winner in the race for the 13th Congressional District seat. Davis has a commanding lead over his Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. It appears at this point that he will win by a larger margin than he did when she challenged him two years ago. A ton of money went into this campaign and it made me feel than I should disinfect my television screen from the nasty images and words involved in that race. Congratulations to Rodney. He has not had an easy road to win or retain that seat in Congress over the years.
• BIG SURPRISE (NOT) — Illinois Democrat Senator Dick Durbin won election to another term. Although he had a few serious challengers, there was no doubt that Durbin would win this election.
• DEMOCRAT State Rep. Sue Scherer won re-election over Republican Charlie McGorray and Green Party candidate John Keating II to keep her seat in the 96th District — which she has held since 2012. It’s tough for a Republican challenger to win in the 96th District, but I thought Charlie McGorray ran a pretty solid campaign and articulated the right issues currently on the minds of a lot of people — bringing some sanity and fiscal responsibility to state government. He also got a lot of votes so people were paying attention. However, COVID-19 removed so many opportunities for candidates in every race to get their message out because of all the traditional campaign events being cancelled. Congratulations to Rep. Sue Scherer on winning re-election.
• REPUBLICAN Scott Rueter will be heading back to the Macon County State’s Attorney’s office after winning Tuesday’s election. Rueter served a four-year term as state’s attorney 20 years ago and came back to win again. Unofficial results had Rueter with 29,513 votes to Democratic challenger Tammara “Tammy” Wagoner’s total of 18,3577. I thought Rueter’s advertising campaign was effective. He started early and was consistent in getting his message out — especially about his background as both a prosecutor and a public defender. Since he had run for the office before, he is an experienced candidate. Congrats to Scott. It seems like only yesterday that he was announcing his candidacy on the steps of the Macon County Courthouse.
• EXCEPT for the office of state’s attorney the rest of the major Macon County offices had candidates who were unopposed. I congratulated them on their wins months ago because they had already won their elections.
• TWO COUNTY Board races that were of special interest this time were in Districts 3 and 5. In Dist. 3, where the top two voter getters would win, Republican Ryan Kreke had 3324 votes with Democrats Bryan E. Smith totaling 2219 votes and Marcy A. Rood with 2296 votes.
In Dist. 5, where the top two vote getters would win seats on the board the results were: Rep. Debra J Kraft with 5461 votes, Rep. Jeffrey L. Entler with 4671 votes and Dem. Jennifer McMillin with 2499 votes. •
• VOTERS rejected Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive tax amendment. The flat tax will remain intact in Illinois’ Constitution. The message was clear — voters simply did not trust the words of supporters of the amendment because they have been fooled before.
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• THE WINDOWS in my office on the fourth floor of the Millikin Court Building at Main & Water streets give a clear view of the Macon County Office Building a block away. For the past several weeks, beginning when early voting started, it seemed that, every time I glanced out the windows, I saw “people movement” coming and going to the county building as I’ve never seen before — especially over an extended period of time. I have no doubt that the vast majority of those people were there to vote early — to make sure they exercised their right to choose the candidates to represent them at all levels of government. What impressed me the most were the people who struggled with handicaps and age-related health problems, who were either coming or going to the building using walkers for support, or hanging on to someone’s arm in order not to stumble and fall. They moved very slowly and carefully. They really made a super personal effort to make sure they voted in this election and they weren’t waiting until election day because of the uncertainty of the time in which we are living in a pandemic.
I don’t have the final early voting numbers from Macon County Clerk Josh Tanner, but I would be surprised if the number of early voters wasn’t a record high.waiting until election day because of the uncertainty of the time in which we are living in a pandemic. I don’t have the final early voting numbers from Macon County Clerk Josh Tanner as we are going to press, but I would be surprised if the number of early voters wasn’t a record high. Kudos to all who made a special effort in this election to make sure they voted in the General Election of 2020. Kudos to Josh and everyone involved in providing easy access and avenues for residents to cast their votes.
• I VOTED early on Tuesday at my usual polling place. I like to consider everything about the candidates and what is happening around the nation, state and county before making that final decision. I arrived at my polling place at about 5:50 a.m. and was third in line waiting outside for the door to open at 6:00 a.m. By the time the door opened there were at least a dozen people lined up behind me to vote. Everyone who went inside the polling place was wearing a mask as were all of the election judges. It was a safe and very efficient process. I was out of the polling place by about 6:10 and the parking lot was nearly full of vehicles of new voters arriving. I had never seen so many voters show up so early at my polling place. Voting is so basic to what this nation is about.
• THE Black Chamber of Commerce of Illinois will scheduled to hold the 4th Annual Highway Memorial Celebration for Sheriff Roger Walker Jr., Nov. 5 at 11:00 a.m. at 269 West Eldorado in Decatur, but I received word yesterday that the event had been cancelled due to rising number of COVID-19 cases in Macon County. It will be held next year. When Walker was elected Macon County Sheriff in 1998, he became the first African American elected sheriff in the state. Roger, who passed away in 2012, was a friend of mine, was appointed as the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections and held this position for six years while also serving on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board from 2009 to 2010. When I ran for mayor, Roger was running for another term as sheriff, and he did something for me that few people in politics ever do. On his campaign card, he had printed information about himself and, on the other side of the card, he supported me for mayor. Usually, those in partisan political office won’t support a candidate in a non-partisan race, like mayor, because they feel such an endorsement might lose them some votes unnecessarily. What Roger did for me in that campaign was very much appreciated — and years later, I remember that unselfish act and other experiences with this man I was, and am, proud to call a friend. Roger was loved and appreciated by so many in this community and beyond.
• IT CAME as no surprise on Friday when Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations would be implemented in Region 6 effective this past Monday, Nov. 2. Our region saw a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. Region 6 includes Iroquois, Ford, Dewitt, Piatt, Champaign, Vermillion, Macon, Moultrie, Douglas, Edgar, Shelby, Coles, Cumberland, Clark, Fayette, Effingham, Jasper, Crawford, Clay, Richland, and Lawrence counties. There is an article elsewhere on this site and in today’s print edition, which explains what the COVID-19 resurgence mitigations mean for our area, how we move out of them — and how, a lack of improvement in reducing the reasons that we got in this position, will bring even more stringent mitigations. I don’t know what else can be written about our citizens taking steps to remain safe and keep others safe that hasn’t been said and written countless times over the months — but many will simply not pay attention and not be “inconvenienced” by protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.
• FOLLOWING the governor’s announcement last week State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) released the following statement regarding Illinois Governor JB Pritzker ordering mitigation measures for IDPH Region 6 : Rose said: “Today I was cut off by the Governor’s office on our conference call and not allowed to even ask a question about their decision on Region 6 mitigation. So let me point out: that in seven months, the Governor’s office has absolutely failed to bring widespread testing availability to downstate Illinois. As the University of Illinois proved, if you can rapidly test, interdict, and quarantine infected individuals, you can absolutely save lives. But the fact is that testing just isn’t widely available to most of Region 6. And even for those lucky enough not to have to drive an hour each way to get tested, waiting 5-7 days for results doesn’t do much good either. It’d be nice if he’d spend more time getting us the testing resources we need to knock this back, and less time having press conferences blaming others.”
• THE CENTRAL Park Fountain has been turned off for the winter and I miss it already. The fountain, with its sprays and waterfalls, always gives me a feeling of peace when I walk by it. Besides the weather that is getting colder by the day, there is usually a problem with leaves blowing into the fountain and creating problem through clogging up the pumps. I’m pleased the fountain could operate to almost the first of November this year. Kudos to the City of Decatur workers that keep the fountain operating this year. I don’t think it has ever looked better than it did this year. Hopefully, when it once again comes to life in the Spring, the community will be in much better shape in its battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. We can only hope, pray and observe what we need to do in order to reduce the odds of spreading the virus even more.
• REMINDER — With the dust from Election Day still settling, it is time to remind those interested in running for the Decatur City Council that they must file their nomination petitions with the city clerk from 8:00 am Monday, November 16, 2020 through 5:00 pm Monday, November 23, 2020. That’s less than two weeks away and there is only a one week period in which those nominating petitions can be filed or you will not be on the ballot for the Spring election.
• NEXT week’s print edition of the Decatur Tribune will be mailed out on Thursday instead of Wednesday because the post office will be closed for the Veterans Day holiday on Wednesday. That means that those of you who subscribe to the Tribune by mail will receive your copy one day later than usual. However, our online edition and our newsstands will have the Tribune available on Wednesday. I think most of you would realize the delay as being due to the holiday, but I’m making sure that our readers know the post office will receive the Tribs on Thursday instead of Wednesday next week only. May God Bless our Veterans and their families.
• DESPITE the pandemic I’m still doing the City Hall Insider on WSOY’s Byers & Co., every Thursday morning at 7:00 via phone to keep us safe. We haven’t been together in the studio since the middle of March! With the General Election being held on Tuesday, and the attention turning towards the city council election, there’s plenty to talk about. I always enjoy talking with Brian.
• STAY SAFE everyone. We can get through the pandemic together if we look out for each other and remain positive and strong despite what we are experiencing,