BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL email@example.com
---- — DANVILLE — On-the-job experience proved important to voters in the sole county-wide office race in Tuesday’s primary election.
Attorneys Dan Brown and Edwin Barney and Associate Circuit Judge Karen Wall were running for an open seat on the bench in Vermilion County Circuit Court. The trio — all Democrats — was jockeying to fill the seat left open by the October retirement of longtime circuit judge Michael Clary.
Voters, at the end of the evening, opted for experience on the bench, selecting Wall over Barney and Brown. Wall received 56 percent, 335 votes, in the City of Danville as of 10 p.m. and three precincts yet to be counted. Brown followed with 27 percent, 161 votes, and Barney with 16 percent, 97 votes.
In the county, Wall claimed a much larger margin of victory for voters, bringing in 58 percent, 810 votes, in the polls with all 59 precincts reporting. Brown was second with 23 percent, 320 votes, followed by Barney with 18 percent, 248 votes.
Wall now moves to the November general election to race the Republican candidate for judge, current county recorder Thomas O’Shaughnessy.
In Tuesday night’s primary election, two first-timers will get their chance to sit on the Vermilion County Board in December.
For District 1, Republican and current board member Todd Johnson of Rossville faced off against GOP challengers Larry Baughn of Hoopeston and Darrell Cambron of rural Rankin. The win was overwhelming as Johnson received 46 percent, 640 votes, followed by Baughn with 44 percent, 604 votes, and Cambron with 9 percent, 127 votes.
In District 5, Democrat John Criswell of Tilton faced challenges from Danville Township trustee Chad Turner of Danville and former county board member Robert “Jim” Watson of Tilton.
Turner turned to be the top vote getter among the District 5 candidates, pulling in a total of 28 percent, 123 votes, compared to incumbent Criswell, who received 25 percent, 109 votes, followed by Watson with 22 percent, 92 votes.
Board member Orick “Corky” Nightlinger, who dropped out of the race in February after moving out of District 5, still received 23 percent, 99 votes, on Tuesday.
Turner said the decision to run for county board “felt like the next step” after serving as a Danville Township trustee.
“It feels good, it really does,” he said Tuesday night.
Baughn, who is a alderman for the City of Hoopeston, said he didn’t expect such a wide margin in the final tally.
“I was very surprised with how many people turned out to vote in the primary,” he said. “I thought it would be closer.”
At this point, the candidates in both of the Vermilion County Board races face a clear path to the November general elections. No members from the opposing party have thus far filed to run for the board seats.
While not sworn in yet, both newcomers are ready to begin when sworn in on Dec. 1.
Baughn said he will look to begin working with county Republicans on the board to get a better idea of the party’s vision on the board going forward and what he can do to help.
For Turner, he said he would like to acclimate himself to the board and its procedures before pushing himself into the issues.
“I’d like to get in and get my feet wet,” he said.
Overall, only three county board races currently are listed as contested for the November election: Districts 6, 7 and 8.
All election results received on Tuesday are considered unofficial until April 1, allowing for write in votes, grace period ballots, late-arriving absentees and provisional ballots to be added into the final tally.