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March primary ballot takes shape for Coles County, state and fed offices
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March primary ballot takes shape for Coles County, state and fed offices

CHARLESTON — Three Coles County countywide office holders will be unopposed for their party's nominations next year but one will face a general election opponent later in the year.

That came from the final day for candidates to file for the March 17 primary, which also saw multiple candidates from both parties, including three from Coles County, filing to replace the area's retiring congressman.

Coles County State's Attorney Jesse Danley filed for the Republican Party nomination for the office.

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Meanwhile, the Democratic Party nominee for the office will be attorney Todd Reardon, a three-time candidate for the position. He and Danley will compete for the office in the Nov. 3 general election.

Also, Melissa Hurst filed for re-election as the county's circuit clerk and Ed Schniers filed for another term as the county's coroner.

Both are Republicans. No Democrats filed for those offices. The political parties will have a chance to fill ballot vacancies after the primary, however.

Hurst will be seeking her third term as circuit clerk and Schniers will be running for his fourth term as coroner. Danley was appointed state's attorney a year ago following former State's Attorney Brian Bower's appointment to a judge's position.

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Also, six of the county board's 12 seats will be elected next year. Two current board members won't seek re-election and there were single candidates only in each district.

Board candidates who filed included former Coles County Sheriff Darrell Cox as a Republican in board District 1. Republican Mike ZuHone, the district's current representative, didn't file for another term.

The county board filings also included Democrat Gail Mason, a former Charleston school board member, in board District 12. Incumbent Republican Brian Marvin did not file.

Incumbent board members, all Republicans, were the only candidates filing in the other districts.

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They were Travis Coffey in District 2, John Doty in District 5, Rick Shook in District 8 and Brandon Bell in District 11.

Meanwhile, filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections included candidates for state and federal legislative districts that include Coles County.

Contested primaries will take place for both parties in the race to replace retiring 15th District U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.

The six Republican candidates are Mary Miller of rural Oakland, Darren Duncan of Rossville, Kerry Wolff of Altamont, Chuck Ellington of rural Camargo, Kent Gray of Leland Grove and Kimberly Wade of Grafton.

Miller is the wife of area state Rep. Chris Miller and works on their family farm. Duncan is a farmer and the Vermilion County treasurer. Wolff is a school board member and former businessman. Ellington is a physician and attorney. Grove is an attorney. No information on Wade was available.

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Four candidates will seek the Democratic Party nomination: Kevin Gaither of Charleston, Erika Weaver of Mattoon, Craig Morton of Salem and John Hursey of Collinsville.

Gaither is a health care activist and tutoring service owner and was the Democratic nominee for the seat during the last election. Weaver is an attorney and a member of the Mattoon school board. Morton in a pharmacist and a city council member. Hursey is a teacher.

A contested primary will also take place in the race to replace area state Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, who isn't seeking re-election in the 55th Senate District.

Filing for the office were Darren Bailey, a Clay County farmer and state representative, and Jeffrey Fleming, an Olney attorney.

Also, Chris Miller filed to run for a second term as representative of Illinois' 110th House District.


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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.

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