It's uncommon for an incumbent to face a primary challenger in most elections, but state Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, has just that scenario to face in March.
Local optometrist Paul Jacobs announced in October he would challenge Bryant for the Republican nomination in the 115th District. On Dec. 1, he made good on that promise by officially filing to run for the office.
Outside of the optometry practice Jacobs owns, he is the proprietor of Von Jakob Brewery and Winery in Alto Pass.
In October, Jacobs attacked Bryant for her affirmative vote for the $5 billion tax increase intended to end the budget impasse that entered a third year on July 1.
Jacobs claimed Bryant "joined hands with Chicago Democrats," to enact a tax hike without any major reforms in property taxes or other burdensome taxes.
Bryant is seeking her third term in the Illinois Legislature. She first won in 2014 with a victory over former Jackson County Sheriff Bill Kilquist. She was re-elected in 2016 over Jonesboro Elementary School teacher Marsha Griffin.
In her most recent term, Bryant has come under fire by conservative elements in her party for crossing the aisle to help end the state's two-year budget impasse. She has said many times publicly she felt it was the right vote for the region.
She was also one of the few Republicans who voted to override Rauner's veto of the union's right-to-work zone ban.
On the Democratic side of the ticket, Griffin has once again filed paperwork to seek the nomination for the 115th District. The Jonesboro native is the creator of My Brother's Keeper, an organization to support correction officers and their families. During her 2016 run for office, equitable and secure education funding and support for teachers were the cornerstones of her campaign.
Challenging Griffin is Jackson County Board Member Tamiko Mueller. She is a major in the Illinois National Guard and has more than 20 years of service with the U.S. Navy.
According to her website, she is running for office to "keep southern Illinois strong," which she says means well-paying jobs, making the family unit strong and standing together as one region to help one another.