Klein re-elected Dem chair for Champaign County
URBANA — Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, Sheriff Dan Walsh and Treasurer Dan Welch may find themselves alone on the ballot now, but come November's general election, local Democrats are determined to give all three opposition.
Moments after being unanimously elected for his third full term as chair of the Champaign County Democratic Central Committee on Wednesday night, Al Klein said slating candidates to take on Hulten, Walsh and Welch will be "job one" for his party.
Klein said the county's Democratic Central Committee could have candidates for all three races as early as the group's meeting on April 30 and no later than its May 28 gathering. The central committee could also hold special meetings in between those two dates to take up the issue of slating candidates.
"In those three county races, no one from the Democratic Party chose to run in the primary," Klein said at the party's county convention Wednesday. "It is our hope to fill up all three races. The party can put up anyone we want to for those races, but we would also need to get the same number of petitions signed as would have been needed if those persons had filed for the primary."
Klein said the recent discovery of irregularities in the results of some uncontested races in the March 18 primary election has made nominating a slate a priority for the Democrats.
Hulten accused Klein of "playing politics" earlier this week. Said Klein on Wednesday: "It doesn't do us any good to run someone for treasurer or sheriff if we can't trust the results of an election. The county clerk (Hulten) is unconcerned about the accuracy of election data."
Klein said any Democrats interested in running for county clerk, sheriff or treasurer should contact him.
"There are a lot of Democrats who understand computers and who like numbers and who know that if you add up three numbers you get a sum that should stay that way," he said.
Klein said he's pleased with the progress his party is making in Champaign County overall.
"We have maintained a majority on the county board, we have re-elected our state's attorney and we have re-elected our state senator," he said. "We did not meet our expectations with our congressional campaign, but we were only one of a lot of counties between here and St. Louis."
In addition to giving Klein a third term Wednesday, the central committee elected Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing as the county party's first vice-chair, Scott Bennett as secretary and Jennifer Gentry as treasurer.