Political first-timer bests incumbent in Champaign County Board District 10

Political first-timer bests incumbent in Champaign County Board District 10

URBANA — Tanisha King-Taylor, a political novice who is director of the tenant union at the University of Illinois, won a surprisingly easy victory over sitting county board member Chris Stohr in the Democratic primary in county board District 10, which covers southeast Urbana.

King-Taylor won with 62.3 percent of the vote to Stohr's 37.7 percent, a margin of about 600 votes out of 2,472 cast.

"It was a lot of hard work with an excellent, amazing campaign manager (Champaign City Council member Alicia Beck), and I think the endorsements definitely played an integral role," she said.

King-Taylor was endorsed by the AFL-CIO of Champaign County and the Champaign County Young Democrats.

"And I think there were people who were really supportive of a woman of color on the board to represent diverse perspectives," she said, "and younger and fresh ones. People are ready for a fresh perspective and someone with diverse opinions within a progressive approach."

She will run in November against first-time Republican candidate David Weisiger, also of Urbana.

Stohr, the secretary of the county Democratic Party and a founding member of the East Urbana Neighborhood Association, was appointed to the county board in October after veteran board member Chris Alix stepped down. The retired geologist at the Illinois State Geological Survey was chosen by Democratic Party officials over King-Taylor and Durl Kruse.

During their campaign, both said they were opposed to closing the county nursing home, but they differed on whether the satellite jail in east Urbana needed to be expanded.

King-Taylor said no addition was needed, even if the downtown jail was closed.

"We have seen decreases in the jail population, so I think it's important that the county board avoid funding jail expansion and should instead invest in vital programs that reduce recidivism and improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents," she said.

But Stohr, who said he helped initiate weekly peer counseling at the county jail, contended that closure of the downtown jail would "necessitate construction of some lost rooms and services at the satellite jail."

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