CHAMPAIGN — Kyle Harrison, a former member of the Champaign City Council, said Monday he hopes to become the next chairman of the Champaign County Republican Party.
If chosen by the party's central committeemen on April 16, Harrison would succeed Habeeb Habeeb, who said last week that he would not seek a second term as the party's chairman.
Harrison already has been endorsed for the position by Habeeb, vice chair Kristin Williamson, former County Clerk Mark Shelden and state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet. All are candidates for precinct committeeman and would be able to vote at the party's biennial convention in April.
So far there is no other candidate to become GOP party chairman.
"As chairman my primary responsibility has been to empower other positive people to be leaders and to advance our goals," said Habeeb. "Kyle has stepped up and demonstrated his willingness to do the same. I am happy to support his efforts and I will work with him on a smooth transition that will allow the party to continue building momentum."
Rose said Harrison "has all of the right attributes to be a good county chairman. But most importantly is he is a very likeable guy."
Williamson, currently No. 2 in the party hierarchy but also a candidate for state representative in the 103rd House District, said she is supporting Harrison for chairman. She also said she would not seek another term as vice chair in April.
Shelden called Harrison "a well regarded guy who brings a lot to the table. I think people will coalesce behind him pretty quickly."
Harrison, 38, is a real estate agent and a member of the party's executive committee. He and his wife Amy and their two daughters live in west Champaign. He attended Urbana public schools and earned his undergraduate degree from Illinois State University.
Harrison was elected to the city council in 2009. He ran unopposed. He served until June 2012, resigning from the seat when his family moved outside of the council district.
"Working with chairman Habeeb and the central committee helped me to truly appreciate the positive impact that an inclusive and highly organized political party has on our community," said Harrison. "I am proud of our local party and I want to see that we continue building momentum and win elections. To do so we will continue making progress in growing our diverse membership through proactive outreach in the community and by raising the necessary financial resources to help elect the many stand out Republican candidates win local elections this November."