Metro-East News

Madison County board chairman submits bid to lead county Republican Party

Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler has tossed his name into the hat to become the county's Republican Party committee chairman.

A party chairman oversees party members, activities, fundraising and precinct committee leaders. The party also supports GOP candidates.

Prenzler will face off against Republican Central Committee Chairman Jeremy Plank, an accountant from Wood River.

Plank worked as chief deputy treasurer when Prenzler served as county treasurer. Prenzler said they had a "good relationship." Plank left the treasurer's office to go back into the private sphere in January 2014, according to his online professional profile on LinkedIn.

Plank said he was surprised when he heard a few weeks ago Prenzler was running, given Prenzler's position as County Board chairman.

"I believe in separation of duties. It presents a lot of conflicts of interests if you have someone who is in charge of the government also running the party," Plank said, adding that he and Prenzler have had a good relationship "over the years."

Plank said he has had success at the annual Lincoln Day Dinner fundraisers, and said he is a Certified Fraud Examiner.

Prenzler said he would work on growing the party in numbers, training for committee leaders and fundraising.

"I think I have the talent to grow the party," Prenzler said. "I am a person who can get energized and get things done."

Prenzler said he's not worried about possibly adding more responsibilities on top of his County Board chairman job. He said he is "very dedicated to delegating" responsibilities to other leaders in the party.

Mark Von Nida, the county's circuit clerk, will seek re-election as the Democratic Party chairman.

Republican and Democratic precinct committee leaders will choose the party chairmen at their convention on April 18 following the County Board meeting.

BND reporter Joe Bustos contributed to this report.