Candidate hopefuls crowded the lobby of the Vermilion County’s Courthouse Annex on the first day of election petition filing Monday.
More than 20 incumbents and challengers arrived to try to be the first name listed on the ballot in their respective races for the March 8 primary election.
Robert Watson, who previously served on the Vermilion County Board for eight years, was one of the first two candidates to file his challenge to one of two seats in County Board District 5. The other: District 5 incumbent Orick “Corky” Nightlinger.
Watson said he’s taken classes at the University of Illinois that indicated being the first name on the ballot can translate into 8 percent more votes on Election Day.
“So it’s a little advantage and every advantage you get when you have to run against incumbents is a great thing,” he said after filing Monday morning.
While being the first name voters see is a plus, other candidates view the idea of being among the first to file as an indicator of their dedication to the elected office.
Steve Fourez of Fairmount and Frank Wright of Danville filed to run in county board Districts 3 and 6 respectively. For Fourez, the decision is to return after losing the board seat in the 2012 election while Wright is a first-time challenger in District 6.
“I think it’s really important to show the people that I’m going to be representing that I’m in it for them and I mean business,” Fourez said Monday. “If I was to turn in my paperwork at the last minute, they would see that maybe I’d be a procrastinator. But being as I’m first, they see that I’m here and I’m always going to be first to take care of the business in District 6 and Vermilion County.”