Drawing will determine ballot position for some Ford County races

PAXTON — A random drawing will be held to determine the ballot placement of eight candidates for the Ford County Board in the March 2012 Republican primary election.

Four candidates for four open board seats in District 1 and four candidates for four seats in District 2 were among those who showed up early Monday morning at the courthouse in Paxton to file their nominating petitions.

Because all were there when the county clerk’s office was opened at 8:30 a.m., a lottery will be required to determine their placement on the ballot, said County Clerk Linda Kellerhals.

Others who file petitions in District 1 or 2 will be listed on the ballot in the order they file their petitions, following the names of those in the lottery, Kellerhals said. Nominating petitions can be acquired at the county clerk’s office and must be filed at the clerk’s office by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5.

Kellerhals scheduled the lottery for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the clerk’s office.

For seats in District 1, a drawing will determine the ballot placement of candidates Dave Hastings of Paxton, Gene May of rural Paxton, Jason Johnson of rural Paxton and Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton. All but Hastings are incumbents. The other incumbent, Richard Hewerdine, had not filed a petition as of 10:30 a.m. Monday.

For seats in District 2, a drawing will determine the ballot placement of candidates Pat Haskins of Sibley, Ann Ihrke of rural Buckley, Cindy Ihrke of rural Roberts and Bob Lindgren of rural Loda. Haskins and Lindgren are incumbents, while the Ihrkes are seeking their first election to office.

Not included in the lotteries will be others who filed petitions for the board later on Monday, including Floyd “Bud” Otto Jr. of Roberts, an incumbent from District 2. The only other incumbent in District 2, Tim Nuss of rural Roberts, had not filed a petition as of 10:30 a.m.

In District 3, which represents the Gibson City area, two candidates — incumbent Elynor Stagen, the board’s vice president; and incumbent Randy Berger of Gibson City — filed petitions Monday. Only the four incumbents in District 3 have picked up nominating petitions for four open seats. The other incumbents are Rick Bowen of Elliott, the board’s chairman; and Randy Ferguson of Gibson City.

For the first time in 10 years, the seats of all 12 members of the Ford County Board are up for election at one time. Half of the people elected to the board will serve two-year terms, while the others will serve four-year terms,  starting Dec. 1, 2012. Candidates do not choose whether to run for a two-year or four-year term, however, as the duration of their terms is expected to be determined through a random drawing at the December 2012 reorganizational meeting.

Also up for election next year are the circuit clerk, coroner, treasurer and state’s attorney, along with precinct committeemen. Filing petitions for nomination Monday were Kim Evans of Paxton, for re-election as circuit clerk; Judy Hastings of Paxton, for county treasurer; Doug Wallace of Roberts, for re-election as coroner; and Matt Fitton of Paxton, or re-election as state’s attorney.

No one else has picked up nominating petitions for any of those offices except for the coroner’s office. Besides Wallace, picking up petitions for coroner were Mark Brake and Kip Rutledge of Elliott.

During the primary election on March 20, 2012, voters will select the Republican nominees — and nominees for other parties, if any — for the seats up for election in the Nov. 6, 2012, general election. Rarely have any candidates except Republicans run for election to local boards in Republican-dominated Ford County, noted Kellerhals.

Some residents of the Paxton area will vote in a different district for county board members in 2012, after the board approved a redistricting plan based on the 2010 census earlier this year. Voters in the Patton 3 precinct will vote in District 1 instead of District 3.

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