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CITY BEAT: PRIMARY ELECTION DIDN’T CREATE MUCH EXCITEMENT

 

Paul Osborne
Editor/Publisher

     By the time you read this column, Tuesday’s General Primary Election will be over and vote totals, along with the percentage of registered voters in Macon County who voted, will be known.

     We know that Regan Deering overwhelmed longtime McLean County Board member Chuck Erickson in the Republican primary for the 88th Illinois House District.  She worked as hard as any candidate could work, maybe harder, and the unofficial result as I’m writing this is she received more than 70% of the vote.  That’s an overwhelming victory.

     In the Republican Primary for State Representative in the 107th District BRAD HALBROOK beat MARSHA WEBB in a very low-key race.  The 107th District touches a portion of Macon County.

    In the Republican race for Macon County Coroner  MICHAEL BURKHAM received 3,003 votes to 1,968 votes for JEFFREY KASHEFSKA and 1,870 votes for WHALEN VANCIL. Burkham will face Democrat Tiffany Hall in the November General Election.

Those were about the only contested races of interest for Macon County voters and the turnout was extremely low — in some races single digit percentages.

     Obviously, this primary election didn’t create much excitement in Macon County.
     I early voted last Wednesday at the Macon County Office Building and, in chatting with Macon County Clerk Josh Tanner before going inside to vote, he told me the turnout had been light — mostly because so many races were uncontested.
Josh does a great job as our county clerk and occupies one of the county level offices that wasn’t up for election this year.
     I always enjoy walking the one block west from our newspaper office to vote.
     This year, it took me longer to walk the one block than it did to fill out my ballot!

     AS I WROTE in last week’s column, as a resident of Macon County, I had very few choices to make in Tuesday’s election because most of the offices that were up for election, had candidates with no opposition.
     Still, as I also wrote last week, it was not the fault of the candidates who didn’t have an opponent.
     Of course, in some cases, potential opponents may have felt they were wasting their time running against an incumbent who was doing a good job in office.
     Whatever the reason, voting in this election was something I did more out of a desire to exercise my right to vote (something I’ve done in every election since I was old enough to vote) than to “make a difference” in the outcome of an election — because the outcome was already known in most of the races due to only one candidate running in several of the races.
     I also felt it is important to support those who do run, even though they don’t have an opponent, in appreciation for their commitment and, in an incumbent’s case, the job they have done.

     • I TALKED to several people I know that I encountered on my way back to the newspaper office after voting and most, when they discovered that I had just voted, indicated to me they probably wouldn’t vote this time around because they didn’t think their vote would make much difference in the primary.

     • AFTER LAST week’s column appeared, I received the following email relating to the election:
     “I just finished reading your take on how few candidates run for office these days. My name is Cheryl Horne and I am one of very few candidates who are running opposed on the Democratic ticket for Long Creek Township Committeeperson. I am running because I think that voters should always have choices. When no one runs opposed there is really not much reason to vote at all. No wonder turnouts are so low.
     “With only one candidate for an office, they will win regardless of how suitable or dedicated they may be for the position. How sad. I don’t think this is how democracy should work. I have sent letters to voters in my precinct telling about myself and plan to make many calls in the days before Tuesday. I am always disappointed when I get to the polling place and see a ballot filled with candidates running unopposed.
     “Voters need to be educated about the candidates and do their research in order to make informed and responsible choices, but to do so they also need to have choices.
     “To that end, even though I am only running for committeeperson in one township precinct, I am proud that those voters are given a choice.”
     I appreciate Cheryl’s comments and, according to unofficial results, she did win her race.  She had to be disappointed that only 7% of registered voters turned out for that election.

     • ONE FINAL observation about Tuesday’s election: This election generated the fewest number of “letters to the editor” in support of a candidate that I can ever remember in an election. Usually, we have so many letters endorsing candidates that we can’t print them all, despite adding an extra page for letters, so we’ve had to print them in the order they were received.
Also, we usually receive several letters after our press deadline for the final edition before the election, but this year, we received only one endorsement letter (for Regan Deering) after we went to press.
     We had printed one other letter endorsing Deering in an earlier edition, and the rest of the letters of endorsement of local and area candidates that we received and printed all involved the candidates in the coroner’s race.
The election was also the first time I can remember in the over half century I’ve been editor/publisher of the Tribune that we did not have a single ad for state representative, state senator, or congressperson — mostly due to lack of opponents, or weak opponents.
     When it came to the only county race that had opponents, all 3 candidates on the Republican ticket had ads in the Tribune for weeks before the election.
     I’m not lamenting the lack of advertising, but the lack of choices for voters, not only in Macon County, but in many other counties in Illinois.

     • MORE CITY BEAT on page 3 of this week’s print and online editions.  You can subscribe elsewhere on this website.  Go to “subscribe” at the top of the front page.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the “City Hall Insider” — something we’ve done every week for the past 21 years.

 

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