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MATTOON -- A state representative from Clay County has announced his candidacy for the state senate seat being vacated by Dale Righter of Mattoon.

Darren Bailey, a Republican who currently serves as a state representative in the 109th District, announced his plans on Monday to run for the Illinois State Senate in the 55th District.

Darren Bailey

Bailey

Bailey is the first announced candidate for the seat following Righter's decision in May not to seek re-election. Righter, R-Mattoon, was elected to the seat in 2002 after spending five years as a state representative.

The seat will be on the March primary ballot and decided in the November 2020 general election.

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In his announcement, Bailey said several people encouraged him to run for the Senate seat.

"My sincere desire in running for office has always been to be a strong advocate for our values in Springfield," he said. "I believe the best way I can continue to serve and champion the values we share is to run for the Illinois Senate."

The announcement said Bailey voted against several of the Democratic Party-backed initiatives during the recent legislative session and his voting record was "one of the most conservative" during the session.

It said Bailey is the owner of a family farm. He graduated from North Clay High School in Louisville and received an associate's degree in agricultural production from Lake Land College.

It also said he and his wife Cindy established Full Armor Christian Academy in Louisville and they have four children and eight grandchildren.

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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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