Champaign Dems pick man passed over for District 6 seat as November candidate

Champaign Dems pick man passed over for District 6 seat as November candidate

URBANA — The summer-long drama surrounding who’ll represent District 6 on the Champaign County Board took a new twist Monday when Charles Young filed paperwork to run for the seat in November.

As of June 21, the seat is held by attorney Tracy Douglas, who was sworn in to replace departed fellow Democrat Josh Hartke for the remainder of his term.

On Monday, Douglas said it came as “a little bit of a surprise” to learn that the county’s Democratic precinct committeemen picked Young to represent the party on Nov. 6.

Douglas hoped to be considered as a candidate for the seat beyond Nov. 30 but said she didn’t know the slating meeting took place last month.

It’s local Democrats’ second show of support this summer for Young, a retired education historian at the University of Illinois.

He was led to believe he was in line to take Hartke’s seat after precinct committeemen chose him in a vote on May 17. But a few days later, Democratic county board Chairman C. Pius Weibel announced he wouldn’t recognize the selection, pointing out that the short notice given for that meeting — 48 hours — violated the bylaws of the county party’s central committee and left several of the elected precinct committee members unable to attend.

That led Maryam Ar-Raheem, chairwoman of the county Democratic Party, to express in a letter her frustration over what she called Weibel’s repeated attempts to dictate how she performs her duties.

Young sat out the June 10 re-vote that went Douglas’ way. The night she was seated, he had strong words for Weibel “and his sneaky Democratic colleagues and friends,” saying: “Your political process of voting with the new female candidate that you always wanted is illegal, unconstitutional, a scam, a hoax and a dishonor to the entire” party.

He also vowed he’d be back, which happened Monday.

Meanwhile, county Republicans are expected to have their own meeting soon and slate a candidate to run against Young in November.

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