Two apply to run for circuit clerk

Two apply to run for circuit clerk

CHAMPAIGN — Two Republicans have entered their party's nominating process for Champaign County circuit clerk, guaranteeing a contest after primary election winner Rick Winkel officially declines the nomination next week.

Katie Malone Blakeman, 31, a Champaign native and a past chair of the Champaign County Young Republicans, filed an application Friday as did Alex (A.J.) Ruggieri, 34, a member of the support staff at the Grainger Engineering Library at the University of Illinois.

As many as three other persons are interested in the race, including Champaign County Board member Stephanie Holderfield of Mahomet, who finished second to Winkel in the March 20 primary. As of Friday afternoon, however, Holderfield had not filed a candidate application with the county Republican Party. Applications are due by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Republican precinct committeemen are scheduled to meet Thursday night to select the GOP candidate who will run against Democrat Barbara Wysocki in the November general election.

The unusual process developed after Holderfield lost to Winkel, a former state legislator from Urbana, in the primary election. Winkel already had withdrawn from the race in February, but his announcement came too late for his name to be removed from the ballot.

He's already said he will decline the nomination as soon as it becomes legal for him to do so.

Holderfield has said that she is "very confident" she has enough support from the 76 Republican precinct committeemen who are eligible to vote Thursday.

Blakeman is the assistant director of development in the division of student affairs at the UI. She lives in Champaign with her husband, T.J., a city of Champaign planner, and their 7-month-old daughter.

"The primary reason I am seeking this nomination is that feel I am highly qualified for the position itself," she wrote. "I see this position as one that requires experience in information technology, personnel management, budgeting and customer service. With my background and professional experience I feel I am well qualified to run a winning campaign and serve our county as circuit clerk."

She said she has "spent many hours knocking on doors, walking in parades and organizing trainings and events, and I would continue to do so as an elected official."

Ruggieri, who is married with two children and said he is temporarily living in Tuscola, said he has "not been directly involved in the local Republican organization yet" but has "a great interest in being active in politics."

Ruggieri is a graduate of the Thomas M. Cooley Law School based in Lansing, Mich., and served in Afghanistan with the Illinois Army National Guard in 2008 and 2009.

Others who may be interested but who have not yet filed include Holderfield and attorneys Sami Anderson and Scott Perkins. Anderson and Perkins were unavailable for comment Friday.

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

rsp wrote on April 07, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Oh the drama! Such opportunist's in the local party. "Hey! We don't like our candidate! Please get on our ballot! Please pretty please?" It's a good thing all those people voted in the primary. Did the voters know they were voting for a circus? 

areader wrote on April 07, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I agree, this IS a circus!  I'm STILL SUPPORTING STEPHANIE HOLDERFIELD!  To heck with everybody else!  And I'm just curious--if these additional individuals really think they should get the job, why didn't they enter the contest the "first time around"?



AJRuggieri wrote on April 09, 2012 at 7:04 am

I will be happy to answer any questions about my application.  Feel free to contact me via email or phone.  My full information can be found on the Champaign County Republican's website.  Thank you for your support.


rsp wrote on April 09, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I was going to leave it alone, however, the application wasn't to the voters. That's what I have a problem with. So basically you are asking the voters to either ignore the fact that there is a deal going on behind closed doors with the party "leadership" or to just look away. That's just politics, slime and all. Maybe the voters should all stay home. You don't even need us.

johnny wrote on April 09, 2012 at 6:04 pm

As determined as some Republicans are to punish Holderfield for challenging Linda Frank, they would look a lot more credible just endorsing Barb Wysocki than wandering downtown asking random people if they want the appointment without a primary or anything.

For all the attention on collecting signatures, now they no longer care about a candidate who collected any?  Brilliant.