URBANA — Local Democrats have filled four vacant candidate slots on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
And Republicans failed to slate any candidates for Champaign County state's attorney or for 11 county board seats, almost guaranteeing that Democrats will again control the county board in December, as they have since 2000.
Republicans only have full two-candidate slates in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, and one candidate (Sher Hampel) in District 8, meaning that the best the party can hope for now is an 11-11 split on what will become a 22-member Champaign County Board. The only other way the party could win control of the board is to run a successful write-in campaign — write-in candidates have until Sept. 6 to declare their candidacy — in one of the districts, all of which were drawn to favor Democrats.
Democrats now have two candidates everywhere except in Districts 2, 3 and 4. They also are lacking a candidate for county coroner against incumbent Duane Northrup.
Before Monday afternoon's candidate filing deadline, Urbana Democrat Michael Langendorf became the Democratic candidate for state representative in the 104th House District, now represented by state Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin. The district includes virtually all of Vermilion County, plus sections of Champaign County including Rantoul, Gifford and Savoy, plus small segments of both Urbana and Champaign.
Democrats also have slated candidates for Champaign County recorder and for county board races in Districts 1 and 5. D'Anne Winston of Champaign will be the Democratic candidate for recorder, opposing incumbent Republican Barbara Frasca. The county board candidates are Eugenia Lamb Watson of rural Seymour in District 1 and Tracy Luchik of the Maynard Lake area outside Champaign in District 5.
Among the new candidates:
— Langendorf said he collected about 675 signatures on candidate petitions; he needed to get at least 500.
"One of the things that concerns me is Vermilion County's economic situation," he said. "I've been working there for 25 years and nothing's changed in 25 years. My pledge is that once I'm elected I will have an economic summit in Danville. We just need to hear from people about what we can do to attract more factories, what do we do if we get the casino (approved last week by the Legislature but facing a likely veto by Gov. Pat Quinn). I've worked there all these years and all I see is poverty growing."
Langendorf, 58, is a school social worker who works for the Vermilion Association for Special Education in Danville.
He said he supports building a casino in Danville.
"I want Danville to be a destination. It's a beautiful place with great parks and a lot of wonderful people," he said. "The community wants the casino. They're not opposed to it, although there are people who are concerned about the bad that comes with casinos."
— Winston, 51, said she needed to collect about 170 signatures on candidate petitions and got close to 200, all of which were gathered on Saturday and Sunday after the Democratic Party slated her Saturday.
"I believe voters should have a choice and I wanted to offer them a choice," said Winston, who had worked six years as a clerk in the recorder's office when it was under Democrat Naomi Jakobsson, now a state representative.
Since then, she said, she has managed two large apartment buildings in Crawfordsville, Ind., worked as an administrative secretary at a Catholic parish in Springfield and works part-time at the University of Illinois. She is married and has two adult children.
In 2009 she ran for supervisor of City of Champaign Township, losing to Republican Pam Borowski, 55 percent to 45 percent.
— Watson is a Democratic precinct committeewoman but has not run for any other office. She lives in rural Seymour and works at Christie Clinic. She joins Eric Thorsland as the Democratic county board candidates in District 1. They will oppose incumbent Republicans John Jay and Gary Maxwell. District 1 includes rural areas of northwestern Champaign County, as well as Mahomet, Fisher and Seymour.
— Luchik, 39, is an English teacher at Urbana Middle School, and is active in the Urbana Education Association and the Illinois Education Association. This is her first race for public office. She will join Brad Diel, a Champaign firefighter, as the Democratic candidates in District 5. The Republican candidates in District 5 are Jeff Kibler and Max Mitchell. District 5 takes in parts of west Champaign as well as rural areas west of the city, including Bondville.