Three people serve as county chair in 2018

There was a trickle down effect that came out of the March 20 Republican primary for the 101st Illinois House seat.

Dan Caulkins of Decatur won that election – as well as the general election in November – prompting runner up Randy Keith to resign his chairmanship of the Piatt County board, as well as his District 1 board seat.

“While I had over 2,100 wonderful (Piatt County) supporters, there are over 1,500 of my fellow Republicans that have lost confidence in my abilities to lead this county. While it is a bitter pill to take, I fully understand their right to feel that way,” said Keith.

Elected as his successor was Al Manint, who served as chair until his board term ended in December, when Ray Spencer was elected to the top spot.

So that means three different people served as Piatt County board chairman in the calendar year 2018. It also led to the appointment of Dale Lattz to the county board to fill Keith’s vacated seat.

In other election news, Monticello school district voters approved a $29.8 million referendum question to fund renovations at the high school/Washington elementary school campus.

There are also some new county-wide office holders after the elections in Seth Floyd as circuit clerk and Debbie Marshall as county treasurer.

Here is a summary of election-related news in Piatt County.

Jan. 31 – Piatt County Board Chairman Randy Keith netted an endorsement by the Illinois Farm Bureau’s ACTIVATOR committee in his bid to win to be the Republican candidate in the 101st House District race.

Feb. 7 – Several statewide and regional candidates were in Monticello for the Piatt County Democrats Groundhog Day Dinner, including Democratic candidate for governor, J.B. Pritzker. U.S. Senator Senator Dick Durbin was also in attendance.

Feb. 21 – 101st District Illinois House of Representative candidates Dan Caulkins, Randy Keith and Todd Henricks all spoke at the Monticello Chamber of Commerce meeting on Feb. 15.

March 7 – Sheriff hopeful Kyle Turngren accused his boss and current Piatt County Sheriff David Hunt of not being transparent about violence at the county jail while Cook County inmates were housed there from 2012 to 2016. Hunt responded that Turngren – a guard at the jail – could have avoided violence in one case by walking away from a situation that resulted in injuries to his Republican challenger.

Democrat Jen McMillin of Decatur is biding her time, waiting to face the winner of the three-way Republican primary for the 101st Illinois House seat.

March 14 – Two county-wide races were challenged on the Republican primary ballot. Seth Floyd was set to run against incumbent Laurie Birch for circuit clerk, and Kyle Turngen and incumbent David Hunt were both on the sheriff’s ballot.

April 4 – Decatur Republican Dan Caulkins defeated Randy Keith and Todd Henricks in the 101st Illinois House primary. Caulkins totaled 6,107 votes to 5,270 for Keith and 2,511 for Henricks.

Citing what he thought was a lack of support from the Republican party following his second place in the March 20 primary for the 101st Illinois House seat, Piatt County Chairman Randy Keith resigned as chair and county board representative.

After twice defeating calls to construct a new high school, Monticello school district voters approved a $29.8 million referendum question to fund renovations at the high school/Washington elementary school campus.

Incumbent Sheriff David Hunt overwhelmingly won the Republican primary 3,057 to 672 over challenger Kyle Turngren. In the Republican primary for circuit clerk, Seth Floyd defeated incumbent Laurie Birch 51.6 to 48.4 percent.

April 25 – “I, for one, would like to say how refreshing it is to discuss facility planning updates after a successful referendum,” said Monticello School Board President Gary Huisinga after the board approved a canvass of the March 20 election returns. The official results were 2,298 “yes” votes and 1,474 “no” on the referendum question.

Nov. 14 – Shannon Carroll edged Leonard Rumery 1,473 to 1,336 to win the Piatt County Board District 2 seat. In District 1, incumbent Ray Spencer won re-election 1,801 to 901 over challenger Mary Lucille Hays.

Area U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) narrowly won re-election with 50.1 percent of the votes cast against Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.



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