DANVILLE — Republican supporters are expected to make up the largest majority of voters who go to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election.
Among the county’s contested races on Tuesday, only one — a county board race — involves Democratic candidates. The remaining battles are between GOP candidates.
“Unfortunately, voter turnout traditionally is not very high on primaries for a variety of reasons,” said Vermilion County Clerk Lynn Foster. She pointed to a number of factors, ranging from lack of a referendum on this ballot to some voters preferring not to select candidates along party lines.
Despite expectations, Danville Election Commission Executive Director Barbara Dreher said her office is “doing well” in regard to early and absentee ballots.
As of late last week, the Danville Election Commission had seen a little more than 400 early and absentee ballots returned so far. For the county, 331 ballots have been issued and 282 counted.
With last year’s redistricting plan, Vermilion County is now split among three Illinois legislative districts. Illinois House and Senate district numbers did not change for most Danville residents. For the northern half and southwestern corner of the county, however, there’s been a transition as those areas became part of new districts.
“We have had some questions,” Foster said. “There was a flurry when it first occurred.”
“I think a lot of times you don’t think about it until you get in” to vote, she added.
The state’s 53rd Senate/106th House districts take up the most of the northern half of the county, cutting across just north of Danville on West Newell Road. The districts as a whole stretch as far west as north of Bloomington and up to Dwight in the north.
In the 106th Illinois House race, five Republican newcomers are battling to move on to the November election: Scott McCoy of Pontiac, Josh Harms of Watseka, Tom Bennett of Gibson City, Richard Thomas of Dwight and Brian Gabor of Pontiac.
The 53rd Illinois Senate District race involved two experienced Republican legislators vying for the post: Shane Cultra of Onarga, who was appointed to the district a little more than a year ago, and Jason Barickman of Champaign, who was appointed state representative in the 105th Illinois House District just more than a year ago.
The 102nd House/51st Senate District is the smallest Illinois House and Senate district for Vermilion County, sitting on the southwest corner of the county. The district extends from that area — which includes Sidell, Jamaica and Fairmount — and Edgar County across southern Champaign County and into northern Shelby County.
In the 102nd race, Republican Rob Roman of Chrisman is running against current 102nd state Rep. Adam Brown, R-Decatur, who was elected to the General Assembly in the 101st Illinois House District in 2010. For the 51st Illinois Senate race, 110th District state Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, is squaring off against Republican challenger Tom Pliura of Ellsworth.
Democrat Mike Frerichs of Champaign and Republican Chad Hays of Catlin are not facing contested primary election races in their respective 52nd Illinois Senate and 104th Illinois House districts.
Inside Vermilion County, there are only three contested races. The race for the office of recorder pits three Republican newcomers against each other: Thomas O’Shaughnessy of Catlin, Deborah Runyan of Danville and Eric Rosson of Catlin.
The other contested races are on the county board, which has all 27 seats up in this year’s elections. In District 3, five Republicans — Steven Fourez of Fairmount, Rick Knight of Indianola, Mary Morrison of Catlin, Charles Nesbitt of Catlin and David Stone of Catlin — are facing off for the three seats available there.
In District 5, four Democrats — John Criswell of Tilton, Orick “Corky” Nightlinger of Danville, Robert Watson of Tilton and Terry Wilkus of Danville — are facing off for the seats.