UI student ends bid to challenge Rose for state Senate seat in November

UI student ends bid to challenge Rose for state Senate seat in November

MAHOMET — Ben Chapman, a University of Illinois junior from Mahomet who ran a write-in campaign to get on the general-election ballot as a Democrat last month, said Monday he is giving up his effort.

Chapman had hoped to run against state Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, in the heavily Republican 51st Illinois Senate District. President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 by more than 35 percentage points. By comparison, the neighboring 52nd District, which includes Champaign, Urbana and Danville, gave Hillary Clinton a 19-percentage-point advantage in 2016.

Chapman did not receive enough write-in votes March 20 to win access to the general-election ballot and would have needed the support of Democratic Party officials in the district plus more than 1,000 petition signatures.

"This was purely logistical. In fact, the party chairpeople were very supportive and very helpful," he said. "It's the signature requirement, mostly. The support I've gotten was wonderful. I'm completely aware that the district does lean Republican. There's no denying that, but that's a challenge I would love to take on.

"The difficulty is ensuring that I could get ballot access and being sure that I could run a campaign that's actually competitive."

Chapman, who turned 21 in February, said his "belief in the power and responsibility of young people to repair our current political disarray remains as strong as ever, and I will continue working to ensure the voices of our nation's youth are heard. Furthermore, the concerns I have raised regarding our current leadership persist, and I will dedicate my time and experience to addressing those concerns."

He said he would support anyone else who wished to challenge Rose in the general election.

"There are other potential candidates for the 51st who would have the resources and would have the backing to get this done," he said. "They would have my full support."

"I'm planning to play a part in the election coming up. What part that is isn't official yet," said Chapman, a junior at the UI studying food science and human nutrition.

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