SYCAMORE – Hours before the deadline for candidates to file to run in the March 20 primary election, a candidate for the state Senate took a rather pragmatic outlook.
“Government only works when people are participating,” David Simpson, a 48-year-old Democrat from Shabbona, said.
Simpson, a lumberyard manager, is running for public office for the first time. He’s guaranteed to win at least one race – he also filed for his post as a precinct committeeman in the Shabbona 1st Precinct.
He, as are the vast majority of people who have filed in the past eight days at the DeKalb County Clerk’s Office, is running unopposed for that post.
While Simpson was filing for the committeeman post before noon Monday in the county clerk’s office, the Democratic Party was filing the necessary paperwork for him in Springfield to run for the Illinois Senate seat being vacated by Tim Bivins, R-Dixon.
Simpson said the party took in a bunch of candidates’ paperwork at the same time.
“I took myself down there, filled out the forms, and they took it into the building,” he said. He said he had finished getting signatures for the petition before Thanksgiving. “We’d been pushing hard from the beginning.”
He said he turned in 1,800 signatures, much more than the required 1,000. He said there was no Democratic precinct committeeman in Shabbona, and that was why he felt he needed to run.
“People need representatives on both sides of the ball,” he said. “I’d like to help bring balance to the state, new ideas, fresh look. Jobs is one of the major things, what I’d like to help out with. Jobs, wages and education.”
He wasn’t the only candidate beating the buzzer Monday morning. Demetri Broches of Cortland was filing to be a Republican precinct committeeman. He said he first was appointed in 2013 and ran unopposed in the last election, and said as far as he knew Monday morning, he once is again running unopposed.
Precinct committeeman is a political office, not a public one, and is voluntary. The office holders vote in local party elections for officers and are in charge of generating as many votes as possible on Election Day.
Broches and Simpson aren’t the only candidates running unopposed in their primaries in the area. At all levels of government, incumbents and first-timers are unchallenged. Even after the primaries, few candidates will face opponents in the Nov. 8 general election.
Here’s a race to note: DeKalb School District 428 Board member Howard Solomon filed his election paperwork Monday to run for the 70th District seat being vacated by state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley. Solomon’s opponent is DeKalb County Board member Paul Stoddard, D-District 9. The winner will face Republican Jeff Keicher of Sycamore in the Nov. 6 general election.
In countywide offices, only DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder Doug Johnson, R-Sycamore, will see an opponent in Carolyn Beth Morris, D-DeKalb. The other countywide offices with elections are regional superintendent of schools, sheriff and treasurer – in all of them, incumbents are running unopposed.
November will be a different story.
At the County Board level, there will be a contest in District 2, where John “J.J.” Wett, D-Genoa, will square off against Tim Hughes, R-Kingston, for an unexpired two-year term, and another in District 11, where Courtney Schuett, D-Waterman, will face incumbent Dan Cribben, R-Somonauk.
There was one declared state representative candidate who hadn’t filed Monday. John Mathey, a Libertarian Party candidate for state representative of the 70th District, said third parties in Illinois don’t start getting petition signatures until the end of May, and have 90 days.
“There’s no Libertarian primary,” Mathey said. Instead, the Libertarian Party chooses its candidates at a convention using a caucus-like format, he said.