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March 17 primary election results: Chautauqua saved, Bailey to win 55th, Sherwood in as Cumberland coroner
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March 17 primary election results: Chautauqua saved, Bailey to win 55th, Sherwood in as Cumberland coroner


Darren Bailey was a landslide winner Tuesday in the race to replace Dale Righter in the 55th Illinois Senate District, which includes Coles County.

In the race for the Republican nomination for the seat in the Illinois Primary, Bailey had 18,327 votes with nearly complete but unofficial totals reporting Tuesday.

Bailey outdistanced opponent Jeff Fleming, who had 5,822 votes late Tuesday.

The two were competing in the 14-county senate district to replace Righter, a Mattoon Republican who isn't seeking re-election. There were no Democratic candidates for the seat, leaving Bailey virtually assured of election in November.

The reported totals did not include results from Lawrence and Wayne counties with an incomplete total in Effingham County.

Bailey is a Clay County farmer and a first-term state representative and Fleming is an Olney attorney and accountant.

Cumberland County Coroner

TOLEDO — Incumbent Steven C. Sherwood is on track to win the Republican primary for the Cumberland County coroner position following Tuesday's election.

Unofficial results show that Sherwood won 996 votes, 55.52 percent of the total cast, in a race with Republican Donnie Cornwell, who received 798 votes. Both candidates are Greenup residents. There were no coroner candidates on the Democrat ballot in the primary election.

Sherwood was elected coroner in fall 2016. He serves as the emergency management coordinator for Cumberland County, as well. Sherwood previously worked as an emergency medical technician for Greenup Area Ambulance.

Cornwell served as deputy coroner for past Cumberland County coroner Scott Stults and has served on the Greenup Village Board. Cornwell served for 24 ½ years in the military, retiring as a first sergeant from the Illinois Army National Guard.

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Douglas County Circuit Clerk

TUSCOLA — Nathan Burton was an easy winner for the Republican Party nomination for Douglas County Circuit Clerk Tuesday.

Unofficial results had Burton with 855 votes, or about 45 percent, in the four-candidate race for the nomination.

Totals for the other candidates were Kaitlin Rund, 380; Terra Carter-Smith, 369; and Amariah Hays, 307.

Burton is the chief of police in Newman, Rund is a Douglas County deputy sheriff, Carter-Smith works at a real estate business and Hays is with the Champaign CASA child court advocate program.

Incumbent Republican Circuit Clerk Julie Mills isn't running for re-election after six terms in the office.

There were no Democratic Party candidates running for the office, so Burton is likely assure of election in November. County Democrats do have a chance after the primary to fill general election ballot vacancies, however.

Shelbyville Chautauqua referendum

SHELBYVILLE — A majority of Shelbyville voters in Tuesday's election gave their support to the city repairing and preserving the Chautauqua Building in Forest Park instead of demolishing this aging historic structure.

Unofficial results show that 529 votes, 59.37 percent of the total cast, answered "yes" in favor of repair and preservation in this nonbinding advisory question. There were 362 "no" votes.

City Council member and park commissioner Mark Shanks has said the 20-sided Chautauqua auditorium, which was built in 1903 to hold large gatherings, is now at risk due to water infiltration damaging three roof truss and column joints.

The ballot question asked if the city should repair and preserve the Chautauqua Building so that it is safe for use and occupancy, at a projected repair cost of $750,000-$800,000, with no projected tax increase unless approved by a separate referendum, instead of demolishing and removing this structure at a projected cost of $60,000-$100,000.

Shanks has said the city will still have to “come up with the money” for the repair project. Shelby County has a Property Tax Extension Limitation Law in place, so it cannot raise tax rates beyond the prescribed amount without voter approval.


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Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.


Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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