Metro-East News

Radio shock jock, township supervisor plan runs for state Senate

Bob Romanik, a local radio host, says he’s running for state Senate District 57, as a Republican.
Bob Romanik, a local radio host, says he’s running for state Senate District 57, as a Republican.

The race to succeed to state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, has become a little more crowded as a local shock jock and a township supervisor have jumped into the fray.

In addition to Tanya Hildenbrand, an Air Force reservist, St. Clair Township Supervisor Dave Barnes and local radio station host Bob Romanik are collecting signatures to seek the Republican nomination in the 57th Senate district.

“I’d like to help more people out,” Barnes said. “I’ve proved I could handle working in an elected position, I stand on principle, I think I’ve done a good job in the township. I’d like to help more people in District 57.”

Barnes ran against Clayborne in 2012 and lost by 20 percentage points. Clayborne’s decision to leave the state Senate at the end of his term led to Barnes to reconsider another run.

“I was asked awhile back to run; I didn’t want to do it,” Barnes said. “When Clayborne said he wasn’t going to run, that piqued my interest. I thought this would be an opportunity to run again.”

Barnes said he would work to reduce the state’s tax rate and work to put Illinoisans back to work. He touts his time as supervisor, saying he has reduced property taxes and worked within a budget.

David Barnes
St. Clair Township Supervisor David Barnes is collecting signatures to run for state Senate in District 57 as a Republican. He previously ran in 2012, but lost to state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville. File photo

“I’m very conservative, I know how to run a budget and work within a budget,” Barnes said.

Romanik, who has previously ran as a Republican for the General Assembly, has not been in good graces with the St. Clair County Republican Central Committee.

He was censured by the committee in 2016.

Romanik 2
In this BND file photo, Bob Romanik shows up to county court in a red, white and blue Uncle Sam costume, minus the top hat. Derik Holtmann

“I’m not going to play party politics, I’m not going to run on party lines and I’m not going to vote on party lines. I’m going to vote for what my people want,” Romanik said. “If the Democrats have something good for my people and they want it, I’ll vote their way. If the Republicans do, I’m voting their way.”

Romanik ran in 2016 as a Republican for state representative in House district 114. He lost to now state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis.

“I was politically insane before (President Donald) Trump, trying to expose people. I’m going to Springfield to make a difference, I’m not going to make any friends. I’m going to expose both the corrupt Democrats and the corrupt Republicans. Maybe you never could get anything done, but if you expose people, you make them change the way they do things.”

Hildenbrand, who jumped into the race in July, said now that Clayborne isn’t running for re-election, more people are seeing an opportunity to run for the open seat.

“I would never discourage anyone running for public office because it gives people more options. If individuals want to serve this country in political office, I welcome those folks into the race. More choices is always better for the voters,” Hildenbrand said.

Tanya Hildenbrand
Air Force reservist Tanya Hildenbrand, a Belleville Republican, hopes to win the Republican nomination to run for state Senate in District 57. File Photo

On the Democratic side, only Christopher Belt, of Cahokia, has announced a run.

The primaries for both parties are in March, ahead of the November 2018 general election.

The 57th Senate district covers much of St. Clair County and part of Madison County, including part of Granite City.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter