Candidates react after Nov. 6 election

PIATT COUNTY AT A GLANCE

Registered voters – 12,141
Votes cast – 7,713
Voter turnout – 63.56%

County Board District 1
Mary Lucille Hays (D) 901
√Ray Spencer (R) 1,801

County Board District 2
Leonard R. Rumery (D) 1,336
√Shannon D. Carroll (R) 1,473

Multi-county races

U.S. House District 13
Betsy Londrigan (D) 131,958
√Rodney Davis (R) 135,680

Illinois House District 101
Jen McMillin (D) 14,281
√Dan Caulkins (R) 32,908

Sixth Judicial Circuit Judge
Ramona Sullivan (D) 65,714
√Roger B. Webber (R) 70,569

Chad Beckett (D) 65,019
√Randy Rosenbaum (R) 70,664

 

The only thing Piatt County District 2 residents knew going into election day was that they would get a new county board representative. With incumbent Al Manint deciding not to run for another term, the seat was eventually won by Republican newcomer Shannon Carroll in a close 1,473 to 1,336 vote over former Piatt County State’s Attorney and Democrat Leonard Rumery.

Carroll, a local farmer and president of the Piatt County Farm Bureau board, said he was overwhelmed by the support he received on the campaign trail.

“All the people in the community and I saw out in public, either at the gas station or especially at the Monticello home playoff football games, letting me know I had their support. That really touched me, that so many not only were supporting me but that they would take the time to let me know in person,” he said.

Since election day, Carroll has been attending Piatt County board committee meetings to get ready to take over the District 1 seat on Dec. 1.

Rumery said he was pleased with his performance – and the countywide voter turnout of nearly 64 percent – but added he has no plans to run for county board again in the future.

“I am encouraged that so many people in Piatt County did their civic duty and voted. I am also encouraged that my race was so close and I received so many crossover votes,” he noted.

Incumbent Republican Ray Spencer outpolled Democratic challenger Mary Lucille Hays 1,801 to 901 votes to retain his District 2 seat.

“I was humbled in receiving the endorsement of so many of the good citizens of Piatt County and will continue to represent them to the best of my ability,” said Spencer.

“I’d like to thank the voters of district for their confidence in me,” he added.

Hays was also pleased with her campaign, especially in a Republican-heavy county, but is not sure she will be a repeat candidate.

“We’ll see where we are in two years. I do think it’s important to have choices on the ballot,” said Hays, a University of Illinois employee and local newspaper columnist.

“Right now we have a one-party government in Piatt County. I don’t think that’s healthy, especially since at the county level all but two races were unopposed.”

Among those running unopposed on the local ballot were County Board District 3 Representative Randy Shumard, County Clerk Jennifer Harper, Circuit Clerk Seth E. Floyd, County Treasurer Debbie Marshall and County Sheriff David W. Hunt. All ran as Republicans.

Caulkins wins Illinois House seat
Illinois 101st District Representative-elect Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) hopes he can make a difference in Springfield over the next six years, the maximum amount of time he says he will serve in that role.

He will begin the task in January as the replacement for a retiring Bill Mitchell after defeating Democrat Jennifer McMillin on Nov. 6. Caulkins captured about 70 percent of the vote in the five-county district, with an unofficial vote total of 32,395 to 14,001 votes.

The vote in Piatt County was 2,794 to 1,149 in favor of Caulkins, who also won in his home county of Macon 14,470 to 6,004.

Caulkins said he hopes to be a part of a coalition of new legislators dedicated to fixing the state’s challenging problems.

“This shows that I have an expiration date,” he said of his self-imposed limit of three terms. “It shows that I’m here to work, not just paddling for 20 years and getting by. It’s going to take a lot of work and it’s going to be bipartisan.”

He said solving the state’s financial crunch is the key to turning the state around.

“All of us have the same problems. Our state is in financial distress and if we can come to some resolution on how to spend money we don’t have, this state will turn around. We will have money for roads, to fund programs.”

Caulkins, a veteran of the U.S. Army, served on the Decatur City Council from 2005 to 2009 and is currently a trustee at Eastern Illinois University.

Local judges elected in close races
The two races to replace retired judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit were a study of contrasts, with both Democratic candidates winning handily in Champaign County and both incumbent Republicans dominating in the circuit’s five other counties: DeWitt, Douglas, Moultrie, Macon and Piatt.

After the final votes were counted late Tuesday night in Piatt County, the two Republicans emerged victorious.

Judge Roger B. Webber defeated Ramona Sullivan, an assistant public defender, 70,569 to 65,714 for the position vacated by retired Judge Arnold Blockman.

“I’m just sitting here staring at the numbers,” Sullivan said. “I was way ahead in Champaign and way behind everywhere else. I want to thank the voters. It has been an interesting night.”

“I want to thank all the voters in the smaller counties who made up the difference after we were lagging in Champaign County,” Webber said. “I am humbled and relieved.”

Webber was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to replace Blockman on May 10, 2016.

Meanwhile, Judge Randy Rosenbaum, a longtime Champaign County public defender before being appointed in September 2016 to succeed retired Judge Harry Clem, defeated Urbana lawyer Chad Beckett, 70,664 to 65,019, for election to Clem’s former seat.

“I want to thank everybody in the Sixth Circuit,” the Republican victor said. “This vote was an endorsement that I am doing a good job. My opponent, Chad Beckett, is a great lawyer. I respect him, and he ran a good campaign.”

Tim Mitchell and Jeff D’Alessio of The News-Gazette also contributed to this story.

 

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