Metro-East News

Monroe County Board chairman seeks to challenge Costello for House seat

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton (left) and Bob Elmore, Republican of Waterloo.
State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton (left) and Bob Elmore, Republican of Waterloo. dholtmann@bnd.com

Monroe County Board Chairman Bob Elmore announced Tuesday that he plans to run for state representative as a Republican in the 116th Illinois House district.

The district currently is represented by Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton. The election is in 2018.

Elmore, a retired businessman who resides in Waterloo, said state lawmakers “have created an anti-business atmosphere and have made poor policy decisions.”

He said his campaign slogan is “Let’s Make Illinois Great Again.”

He said Illinois “is in serious financial trouble and we have to stop making patchwork decisions and have a balanced budget with real reforms to get Illinois headed in the right direction. Illinois has lost almost 400,000 taxpayers over the last 30 years, and this puts the burden on the citizens who still live here.”

Illinois has lost almost 400,000 taxpayers over the last 30 years, and this puts the burden on the citizens who still live here.

Bob Elmore, Waterloo, Republican candidate for state representative

He added, “This outflow can only be stopped by making good policy decisions and not political decisions in Springfield. Good policy would be to create a friendly atmosphere for business to grow our economy by creating more jobs and broaden our tax base.”

Costello was appointed to the seat in 2011, then was re-elected in 2012, 2014 and 2016. He had no opponent in 2014 and 2016.

Costello is known as one of the more conservative Democrats in the Illinois House. He said he welcomes the challenge.

“That’s the great thing about our country and our democracy — that voters have free choice,” Costello said.

That the great thing about our country and our democracy — that voters have free choice.

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton

Elmore said he’s heard of other Republicans expressing casual interest in running in a primary, but no one has formally announced a candidacy.

Elmore said his campaign slogan borrows from President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan. Elmore said he did not vote for Trump in the Republican presidential primary, but supports him.

“I have to support him. I’m a Republican,” Elmore said.

Elmore said Costello should not have voted in favor of Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, to again serve as House speaker.

“We need to give the voters a choice,” Elmore said. “Do they want to keep going the same way, or change the direction?”

Elmore, 79, worked for a media company before retiring. He resided in Springfield before moving to Waterloo in 2008. He said he “didn’t like the way things were going” and decided to enter politics.

Cities in the district include Waterloo, Red Bud and Sparta.

Brian Brueggemann: 618-239-2475, @B_Brueggemann

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