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Contested GOP primaries emerge for 118th state house and Saline County sheriff

By Travis DeNeal
updated: 11/29/2017 11:42 AM

SALINE COUNTY -- Initial candidate filings for the March 20, 2018 primary show contested races for the 118th District State Representative race on the Republican side, in addition to Saline County contests for Republican sheriff candidate.

Filing for the March 20 primary opened Monday and will continue until the close of business on Monday, Dec. 4. The primary is for all of Illinois congressional seats, several statewide offices, most state legislature seats and many county offices. The winners will lead into the general election on Nov. 6, 2018.

Harrisburg businessman Wes Sherrod is one of three candidates filing for the Republican 118th District State Representative race. Sherrod, owner of Sherrod's Collision Center, will square off against Massac County State's Attorney Patrick Windhorst and Samuel K. Stratemeyer of Metropolis. The winner of the primary likely will face current 118th District state Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie of Elizabethtown. Phelps Finnie, a Democrat, also has filed, seeking re-election.

In Saline County, Deputy Craig Williams and Harrisburg Police Department Patrol Sgt. James "Whipper" Johnson both filed as Republican candidates for sheriff. The winner of the primary likely will face Democrat Ken Clore, current Saline County Chief Deputy. Clore has filed as Democratic candidate for sheriff. No other Democratic candidates have filed at this time.

So far, three candidates have filed for seats on the Saline County Board. Democrats Greg Hodson and former board member Bruce Tolley both filed, as did Republican candidate and current board president Jay D. Williams.

Current state's attorney Jayson Clark, a Democrat, has filed to fill an unexpired two-year term. Clark was appointed state's attorney following the death of Mike Henshaw, who was re-elected state's attorney in 2016. No other Democrats have filed to run for the office at this time. No Republicans have filed as candidates for the race currently.

Democrat Julie Dunn, a longtime employee in the Saline County Clerk's office, has filed as her party's candidate for Saline County Clerk. No other Democrats have filed to run for the office at this time. Republican Kim Buchanan, the current county clerk, has filed to run for the office on her party's ticket.

Republican Jeff Murrie, the current Saline County treasurer, has filed for re-election. No other Republicans have filed yet. Natalie Brown Miller, a Democrat, also has filed to run for treasurer. No other Democrats have yet filed to run for the office.

Several party precinct committeeman candidates have filed for office. On the Democratic side, Hodson, the county board candidate, also has filed as Harrisburg 8 precinct committeeman. Vivian Robinson has filed for Harrisburg 3 precinct committeeman. Former county treasurer Willie McClusky has filed to run for Independence precinct committeeman. Marty Baker has filed for Eldorado 2 precinct committeeman. Current county board member David Phelps has filed for Eldorado 1 precinct committeeman.

Several Republicans have filed for their party's precinct committeeman positions. Derek Field has filed for Carrier Mills 1 precinct committeeman. Murrie, the treasurer candidate, also has filed for Harrisburg 8 precinct committeeman. Monty Field has filed for Harrisburg 10 precinct committeeman. Bob Holmes has filed for Harrisburg 3 precinct committeeman.

Because several candidates filed at 8 a.m. Monday, the first minute petitions could be submitted, a lottery will be held to determine order for ballot order for contested offices, Buchanan said. That includes Williams and Johnson, the Republican sheriff candidates, along with Hodson and Tolley for county board.

One Democratic candidate, Elizabeth ("Beth") Rister of Eldorado, has filed for the Regional Office of Education District 20 Superintendent. No other Democrats have filed for the office currently. No Republicans have filed for the office.

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