The landscape for next year’s elections became clearer on Monday, the first day that candidates could file to run in the primary for seats on the county, state and congressional levels.
Some of the highlights for the metro-east:
▪ At least four seats in the state legislature will be contested in the November 2016 general election. One of the candidates for a statehouse seat will be a former police officer who once owned strip clubs and served prison time.
▪ A Democrat plans to run in the primary against the Democrat incumbent recorder of deeds in Madison County, suggesting a possible fissure in the county’s Democrat Party.
▪ Candidates seeking a seat on the St. Clair County Board include one who was recommended to fill an unfinished term, but was pulled after questions about a previous vote-fraud charge.
The filing period for candidates to get their names on the ballot for the primary ends Nov. 30.
Bob Romanik of Belleville filed to run as a Republican, and Latoya Greenwood of East St. Louis filed to run as a Democrat, for the Illinois House District 114 seat currently held by Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson, D-East St. Louis. Jackson is not seeking re-election.
Romanik bills himself as the “Grim Reaper of Radio” on his controversial talk show on radio station KQQZ. He is a former Washington Park police chief who served a prison term for obstructing a federal prosecution of video gambling in taverns. He once owned strip clubs in the Washington Park area.
Greenwood is a member of the East St. Louis City Council and is director of human resources at East St. Louis School District 189.
Swansea attorney Katherine Ruocco filed to run as a Republican in Illinois House District 113, where the incumbent is Rep. Jay Hoffman, a Swansea Democrat. Ruocco ran for state Senate in 2014 and narrowly lost to longtime Democrat Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville. Hoffman, an attorney, has served more than 22 years in the House.
Katie Stuart, a math and statistics instructor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, filed to run as a Democrat in Illinois House District 112, where the incumbent is Rep. Dwight Kay, a Glen Carbon Republican. Kay has served in the House since 2011.
In Illinois Senate District 58, former Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon of Carbondale filed to run as a Democrat and former military prosecutor Paul Schimpf of Waterloo filed to run as a Republican. The incumbent, Republican Sen. Dave Luechtefeld of Okawville, is not seeking re-election.
As of late Monday afternoon, no candidates had filed to run against the following statehouse incumbents: Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton (56th District); Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville (108th District); Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton (111th District); Rep. John Cavaletto, R-Salem (107th District); Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton (116th District).
For congressional seats, Belleville attorney Charles “C.J.” Baricevic filed to run as a Democrat in the 12th Congressional District, where the incumbent is Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro. Kyle McCarter, a Republican from Lebanon who currently serves as a state senator, filed to run in the primary against the incumbent, Rep. John Shimkus, a Republican from Collinsville.
An Edwardsville attorney has filed to challenge Madison County Recorder Amy Meyer for the Democrat nomination for the office.
Shannon Bradford filed petitions Monday to run in the Democrat primary on March 15. She is challenging Amy Meyer, who has been Madison County Recorder since 2012.
Bradford said her decision comes from her concern for Madison County and the integrity of the office.
“As a former recorder’s clerk, I understand how important this office is to the citizens of Madison County,” Bradford said. “For more than two centuries, the recorder’s office has been entrusted as the custodian of the land, veterans, marriage and birth records of our county, and it is a full-time responsibility to preserve and protect our property, identity and history.”
Bradford hinted that the recorder’s office has been run unprofessionally.
“Public service is not a hobby, it is a calling,” Bradford said. “I will be the full-time recorder the taxpayers of Madison County deserve.”
Meyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Bradford also slammed what she called “political party bosses,” who she said tried to discourage her campaign.
“Whether it be a rigged endorsement meeting or whispers that this campaign would hurt my career, the so-called Democratic Party bosses should not have the power to force a candidate on the voters of Madison County,” Bradford said. “Voters in the Democratic Primary should have a choice in whom to nominate for the respective offices on the ballot.”
Bradford is an attorney specializing in family law with the Bradford Law Office in Edwardsville. A graduate of Edwardsville High School, she earned a bachelor’s degree at Florida State University and juris doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law. Prior to law school, she worked as a clerk in the recorder’s office, where she served as an office union representative, and clerked with the state’s attorney’s office during law school.
She has also worked for two years at the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, handling cases subject to the Violence Against Women Act, and is a pro bono attorney with the Madison County Legal Advice Clinic.
Also an attorney, Meyer worked for the Meyer Law Firm in Alton for seven years before being elected recorder in 2012. Meyer has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and juris doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law. In 2012, she defeated Republican incumbent Matt Rice for recorder.
In addition, three Democrats have filed for the Madison County Board seat vacated just last week by Terry Davis, who resigned for personal reasons.
Technically, Board Chairman Alan Dunstan is to nominate a replacement board member of the same party, which is then confirmed by the full board. That is scheduled to take place next month.
But before Dunstan has even announced a nominee, three people have filed to run in the primary to fill the seat on the Democratic side: Kathy Davis, whose husband just vacated the seat; Michael Parkinson; and retired regional schools superintendent Harry Briggs.
County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza said whoever is nominated — whether it’s one of these candidates or another person — would serve until the November election.
Up for re-election next year are Dunstan, Coroner Steve Nonn, Meyer, Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida and Auditor Rick Faccin. Ming-Mendoza said all except county Treasurer Kurt Prenzler filed their petitions on the first day Monday; while not up for re-election, Prenzler has announced his intention to challenge Dunstan for board chairman.
Of 20 county seats up for re-election, 17 filed petitions on the first day, Ming-Mendoza said. To appear on the primary ballot, they have until Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. to file petitions. Candidates are listed on the ballot in the order in which they filed; if they filed simultaneously, Ming-Mendoza will hold a lottery for ballot order by Dec. 9.
St. Clair County
James Haywood, of Cahokia, has filed petitions to run as a Democrat for the District 25 County Board seat. The seat is currently held by his wife, Lorraine Haywood.
James Haywood was recommended in June to finish the County Board term of Curtis McCall Jr., who become mayor of Cahokia.
St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern then pulled James Haywood’s nomination after questions of absentee ballot fraud came up. The charge against James Haywood was dropped.
District 2 County Board Member Joan McIntosh, of Washington Park, is set to have a Democratic primary challenge from Harry Hollingsworth of East St. Louis.
District 26 County Board Member Larry Stammer, of Belleville, also faces a challenge in the Democratic primary. Scott Tieman, of Belleville, filed petitions on Monday to run.
District 14 County Board Member Bob Trentman, of Belleville, is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Jaynie Wells of Swansea.
In District 15, County Board Member John West is being challenged in the Republican primary by Bobby J. Deadmond Sr. Both candidates live in O’Fallon.
Current County Board Member Angela Grossmann-Roewe, who represents District 12 filed petitions to run as a Democrat for the Board of Review.
The St. Clair County Recorder position is set to have a November general election race. Amanda Ruocco, a Swansea Republican, filed to run, as Democratic incumbent Michael Costello, of Belleville, seeks re-election.
News-Democrat reporters Brian Brueggemann, Elizabeth Donald and Joseph Bustos compiled this report.