URBANA -- Rick Winkel, a former state legislator and county board member, said today he will be a Republican candidate for Champaign County circuit court clerk.
Incumbent Circuit Clerk Linda Frank, also a Republican, said she will retire after 20 years in office to "take on new challenges and seek new opportunities."
"My technology goals for the office have been met as this year we will have courtrooms that no longer need paper files. All the documents in the files are being scanned and they will be available digitally in the courtroom," she said. "So we are well on our way to a paperless courthouse."
She said she contacted Winkel, an attorney and now a faculty member at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs and law school, about 10 days ago to see if he was interested in running.
"I am happy to announce that I believe we have found a candidate that both the citizens of Champaign County and I can count on to keep this office moving forward," Frank said.
Winkel, 54, said he would remain at the UI through the end of his current contract, which runs into August.
"I checked with the university ethics office and confirmed that as a universwity employee I may be a candidate in a local election," Winkel said. "My commitment is that I will engage in political activity strictly on my own time. That means of course that I will not use any state property or resources for a political purpose or to solicit any political contribitions while on stateproperty. I want to make clear -- my candidacy for circuit clerk is my own and it is not supported by the university."
Stephanie Holderfield, a Republican county board member from Mahomet, announced earlier this year that she would oppose Frank for circuit clerk in the primary election next March.
No Democrats have stepped forward to run for the office.