GOP to interview candidates for Harms' spot on ballot
PAXTON — Five Republicans seeking to replace state Rep. Josh Harms on the November election ballot will be interviewed today in Paxton, but the man chairing the committee that will choose Harms' replacement is not sure if a selection will be made today.
"We may or may not make a selection after the meeting," said Livingston County Republican Party Chairman John McGlasson, chairman of the replacement committee.
The replacement committee is scheduled to meet at the Arcade Cafe & Pancake House in Paxton at 12:30 p.m., with interviews starting at 12:45, McGlasson said.
"Each of the applicants will be given up to 15 minutes to speak, and we will have up to 15 minutes for questions from the committee," McGlasson said. "Only the committee and that applicant will be present (during the interview)."
McGlasson said the five Republicans who have applied to fill Harms' spot on the ballot are:
— Shane Cultra, a former state senator and former Illinois House member from Onarga
— Parkland College Trustee Tom Bennett of Gibson City
— Harms' legislative aide, Susan Wynn Bence of Watseka
— Livingston County Farm Bureau President Jason Bunting of rural Cabery
— Michael Mercier, a Watseka city council member
Harms, a freshman lawmaker from Watseka, announced recently that he was pulling out of the 106th House District race against Democrat William Nutter for unspecified family reasons. His formal withdrawal from the race was filed July 2 with the State Board of Elections.
Applications for nominees to replace him on the ballot were due July 19.
The replacement committee was initially made up of the GOP chairmen for the five central Illinois counties in the 106th House District — McGlasson of Livingston County, Cultra of Iroquois County, Bennett of Ford County, Matt Smith of Woodford County and Mike Marron of Vermilion County.
However, because Bennett and Cultra are now seeking nomination for Harms' ballot spot, Ford County's representative is recently retired Judge Steve Pacey of Paxton, while Cultra has been replaced by Paul Bower of Watseka.
Will Brumleve is editor of the Paxton Record, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit paxtonrecord.net.