Keith resigns from county board

Randy Keith saw his second place showing in the March 20 101st District Republican primary as not only a defeat for his aspirations to serve in the Illinois House, but as a no-confidence vote in his current role as chairman of the Piatt County board. As a result he has resigned as county board chair and as a District 1 representative on the county board.

In the primary, Keith netted 38 percent of the vote, six percent less than winner Dan Caulkins, with Todd Henricks netting 18 percent of the tallies in the five-county House district.

The Piatt County board chair received nearly 59 percent of the vote in Piatt County, but did not see that as enough support to continue serving his current term on the board, which is up in 2020.

“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.

“Getting that from my own county was tough,” he added. “I have poured my heart and soul into it for eight years. They got the best from me every day, and the time I asked for support, 600 (Piatt County) people voted for Dan Caulkins.”

He added the role of the county board chair is more like a manager since there is no paid county administrator in Piatt County.

“It’s a whole lot different being a county board chairman than it was 10 or 15 years ago. The state the state is in, and all the rules and regulations are changing constantly,” he added.

Keith received 2,164 votes in Piatt County to 915 for Cerro Gordo-based Henricks and 600 for Caulkins of Decatur. Keith also won the McLean County vote, while Caulkins had more votes in Champaign, DeWitt and Macon counties. In the latter, Caulkins routed the opposition with 3,280 votes to 997 for Keith and 746 for Henricks.

Overall, the unofficial primary results have Caulkins with a total of 6,060 votes, Keith at 5,247 and Henricks with 2,493. In November, Caulkins will face Democrat Jen McMillin, who was unopposed on that party’s ballot.

Keith said stepping down is somewhat of a “relief” as he will no longer be in charge of solving county government issues. For now those duties will pass to county board vice-chair Al Manint, who will recommend a District 1 replacement to serve the remainder of Keith’s term.

“I’ve enjoyed working and getting to know the elected officials and employees of Piatt County. This county is truly blessed to have these fine people representing them,” added Keith.

Then, taking a cue from one of his 101st House District ads that portrayed him casting a line into an area lake, he added, “best wishes to all. It’s time to go fishing.”

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