Metro-East News

More candidates file to make runs for metro-east congressional seats

When candidates finished filing their candidate petitions with the State Board of Elections on Monday, three people filed to be on the ballot who had not previously announced runs for metro-east congressional districts.

In the 12th congressional district, Charles Koen, of Cairo, filed to run for the Democratic nomination, and Randy Auxier filed to run for the Green Party nomination. The seat is currently represented by U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who is seeking re-election.

In the 13th congressional district, Angel Sides, of Springfield, has filed to seek the Democratic nomination for that seat, currently held by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, who also is seeking re-election.

Koen, 72, has a CrowdPac online fundraising page to gather contributions for his run.

He was convicted in 1991 of embezzling more than $630,000 including money withheld as income taxes from his nonprofit’s employees that was never turned over to the government. Prosecutors said he used the money to pay for personal items, including to lease a Cadillac.

charles koen
Charles Koen Photo courtesy of Facebook

Koen, who was active in the black civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s, denied guilt of the crimes. He served four years in prison and was paroled in 1995.

As there is still a Dec. 11 deadline for people to object to candidate petitions to be on the ballot, Koen declined comment for this story.

Auxier, of Murphysboro, is a philosophy and communication studies professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

Randy Auxier
Randy Auxier Provided photo

He joined the Green Party after being disappointed with former Vice President Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000 and how it didn’t make the environment the top issue, he said.

“My disillusionment with the way the Democrats … were putting to the back burner something I regarded at that time and now (see) as the most important issue that faces us all, motivated me to join the Green Party,” Auxier said. “I have been more or less active in environmental causes up into the present.”

Auxier said he has worked with the teachers’ union at SIUC, and is an active member in his church.

“I think I can talk to organized labor in a way a typical Green Party candidate cannot,” Auxier said.

He said he supports a single-payer universal health-care system.

“In order to have a productive work force that can compete with other areas for jobs, we have to have a healthy work force,” Auxier said. “It’s in our economic interest to have good health care.”

“Now seems to be a moment where I feel like there aren’t enough independent voices and perhaps not enough courageous ones out there to counter what’s happening in the country,” Auxier said.

Also in the race for the Democratic nomination in the 12th Congressional district are St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, and a marine veteran and former government contractor David Bequette, of Columbia.

Preston Nelson, of Benton, is challenging Bost for the Republican nomination.

angel sides
Angel Sides Photo courtesy of GoFundMe

In the 13th congressional district, Springfield resident Angel Sides who is seeking the Democratic nomination, has launched a GoFundMe page to help finance her campaign.

According to the page, she has raised $5 of her $35,000 goal.

Sides, a teacher and activist according to her fundraising page, did not respond to a request for comment

Also seeking the Democratic nomination in the 13th District are Jon Ebel, a University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana professor; Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, the development officer for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum who lives in Springfield; David Gill, a doctor from Bloomington, and Erik Jones, a former Illinois assistant attorney general from Edwardsville.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter