Bailey, Sampson, Watkins winners in Illinois primary

For The Weekly Post

Gov. JB Pritzker will find out Nov. 8 whether spending millions to pick his Republican foe was a good idea or not.

Unofficial results show State Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) won the Republican gubernatorial primary held Tuesday. With 58 percent of the vote counted, Bailey led a crowded Republican field with 56.9 percent of the vote. Jesse Sullivan was at 15.9 percent and Richard Irvin was running third at 15.5 percent.

Pritzker, who won easily on the Democrat side, spent heavily on ads for Bailey in the primary, a practice that seems certain to end before the general election.

The Republican governor race was one of the most interesting statewide in an unusual June primary that saw light turnout and was necessitated by a much-delayed process of redrawing Illinois voting maps.

In Peoria County, turnout was running close to 15.1 percent, down from 20 percent in 2018.

Another change in Peoria County was a shift from digital voting to paper ballots. Officials reported no major problems with the new HartInter Civic voting system, which officials said allows for a physical paper trail.

Also, there is no electronic system currently being sold that meets current federal voting system standards, and the county’s old eSlate Voting system purchased in 2006 could no longer be supported.

Locally, one of the more interesting races involving a new district saw Travis Weaver leading Pekin Mayor Mark Luft to serve as State Rep. in the 93rd district. With 75 percent of the vote in, Weaver had 64.3 percent of the vote to lead Luft, technically the incumbent though his district changed dramatically.

Also contested locally were primary races for Peoria County and Knox County Sheriff.

In the Republican primary for Peoria County Sheriff, with 92 of 116 precincts reporting, Chris Watkins was leading Jason Buckley, 61.8 percent to 38.2.

“The platform I ran on was my experience. We both mean well and I’m glad we kept it in house,” Watkins said. “Jason is a very great asset to Peoria County. But people saw the resumes and saw I’ve brought more to the sheriff’s office my whole career.”

In Knox County with all precincts reporting, former Deputy Douglas Sampson topped Williamsfield Police Chief James Robertson in the Democratic primary, 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent – winning by a mere 30 votes. The winner will face off in November against Republican Jack Harlan and Independent Zachary A. Cox.

Also on the Democrat ballot, Knox County Public Defender David M. Hansen of Galesburg was well ahead of Jim Harrell of Rio to fill a vacancy as a Judge of the Circuit Court for the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Hansen had 69.1 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting.

And with 35.5 percent of the vote in, incumbent Sen. Win Stoller of Germantown Hills was in a close race, with 53.8 percent of the vote in a newly drawn 37th Senate District. At 46.2 percent was businessman Brett S. Nicklaus of Dixon.

Here are preliminary results in other elections:

• U.S. Senate – With 52 percent of the vote counted, Attorney Kathy Salvi of Mundelein was the leader among seven Republicans vying to run against incumbent Sen. Tammy Duckworth in November. Salvi had 31.2 percent of the vote according to the Chicago Tribune, while Peggy Hubbard was next at 23.9 percent and Matt Dubiel was running third at 12.7 percent.

• Congress, 16th Congressional District – Rep. Darin LaHood was poised to win easily in the Republican Congressional primary against retired Rockford engineer Walt Peters, Rockford attorney JoAnne Guillemette and Minooka business owner Michael Rebresh.

• Congress, 17th Congressional District – In the race to replace Cheri Bustos, Esther Joy King was leading Charles Helmick Jr. on the Republican ballot, 68 percent to 32 percent with 40 percent of the expected vote counted. A former weatherman on television stations in Rockford and Moline, Eric Sorensen led a crowded field of six Democrats with 35.8 percent and 58 percent of the expected vote counted. Litessa Wallace was next closest with 28.1 percent.

• Illinois Attorney General – Greenville Attorney Thomas DeVore was leading three Republicans seeking to face Democrat Kwame Raoul in November. With 43 percent of expected votes counted, DeVore had 43.3 percent. Deerfield Attorney Steve Kim was at 35.3 percent.

• Illinois Secretary of State – In the race to replace Jesse White, former State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias was leading the Democrat race with 53.4 percent, putting him ahead of Chicago City Clerk Anna M. Valencia (34.1). Republican Dan Brady had a commanding lead over John C. Milhiser with 77.6 percent.

• State Central Committee – In the 17th Congressional District, State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth was winning easily in a three-person race for state central committeewoman.