Seats flipped as dust set­tles on Elec­tion Night

Belleville News-Democrat - - Front Page - BY KELSEY LAN­DIS klan­dis@bnd.com

Mi­nor shifts in the Madi­son and St. Clair county boards didn’t change any party ma­jori­ties, but Elec­tion Night 2018 flipped mul­ti­ple seats and top­pled some long-stand­ing board mem­bers to new­com­ers.

Democrats con­tin­ued to fare well in St. Clair County as pre- dicted, while Repub­li­cans kept their hold on the nearly equally split Madi­son County Board.

Democrats have kept a solid ma­jor­ity on the St. Clair County Board for decades, while Madi­son County flipped Repub­li­can in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions af­ter years of Demo­crat ma­jor­ity.

Both coun­ties saw an in­crease in voter par­tic­i­pa­tion from the last midterm elec­tions in 2014. St. Clair County saw 52 per­cent voter turnout, com­pared to 45 per­cent in the 2014 midterms. Madi­son County had 58 per­cent voter turnout, com­pared to 45 per­cent in 2014.

Here’s a look at how Repub­li­cans and Democrats fared at the county level. For a full list of St. Clair County, Madi­son County and other elec­tion re­sults, visit the BND’s elec­tion home­page at https://bit.ly/2DrkyNZ.

ST. CLAIR COUNTY

Democrats in­creased their ma­jor­ity over GOP board mem­bers by one seat af­ter Tues­day night’s elec­tions, bring­ing their to­tals to 21 seats for Democrats and eight seats for Repub­li­cans. The GOP pre­vi­ously held nine seats on the board.

Long­time Dis­trict 21 Demo­cratic board mem­ber Frank “F.X.” Heili­gen­stein of Free­burg lost his seat to Bert “Dean” Pruett, a Repub­li­can also from Free­burg.

Heili­gen­stein, 77, rep­re­sented the ru­ral dis­trict for 42 years.

“I had a ‘D’ be­hind my name. Peo­ple are out vot­ing change for the sake of change,” Heili­gen­stein said. “The ‘R’s’ re­ally racked up some good votes out here in the outer county. It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see how it plays out.”

But for the one seat gained by a Repub­li­can, the GOP lost one to Demo­cratic new­comer Richie

Meile of O’Fal­lon, who gar­nered 52 per­cent of the vote in Dis­trict 23 against Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Fred Boch.

The ru­ral Dis­trict 19, which in­cludes parts of Shiloh, also flipped from Repub­li­can to Demo­crat. Repub­li­can C. David Tiede­mann chose not to run for re-elec­tion, leav­ing the seat up for grabs be­tween Demo­crat Jana Arm­strong Moll and Repub­li­can Daniel J. Wei­den­ben­ner. Moll won with 51 per­cent of the vote.

Democrats held on to Dis­trict 28 af­ter Joseph Kassly de­cided not to run for re-elec­tion. Scott Green­wald, a Demo­crat from Fairview Heights, won that seat with 56 per­cent of the votes over his Repub­li­can chal­lenger, Kurt Schutz.

Repub­li­cans kept Dis­trict 7 af­ter Repub­li­can Bryan Bin­gel de­cided not to run again. Repub­li­can Ed Cock­rell, who pre­vi­ously served on the board, hand­ily won the seat with 72 per­cent of the vote over Demo­cratic can­di­date Melinda “Mindy” Sch­nei­dewind.

Dis­trict 18 also stayed in GOP con­trol af­ter Matthew Small­heer of O’Fal­lon won his un­con­tested race. Repub­li­can board mem­ber Craig Hub­bard did not seek re-elec­tion.

De­spite an at times prob­lem­atic cam­paign, Demo­cratic Sher­iff Rick Wat­son man­aged to hold onto his post with 53 per­cent of the vote over Repub­li­can chal­lenger Nick Gail­ius. St. Clair County vot­ers cast 55,060 votes for Wat­son and 41,401 votes for Gail­ius.

Com­plaints about Wat­son’s pen­sion sur­faced, he en­dured a cam­paign gaffe in­volv­ing a mailer, and a county worker re­signed af­ter it be­came clear she was do­ing cam­paign work for Wat­son on county time.

St. Clair County still trended Demo­cratic in statewide races, with 49 per­cent of the vote go­ing to Gover­nor-elect J.B. Pritzker and 44 per­cent go­ing to Repub­li­can Gov. Bruce Rauner. In the Con­gres­sional race be­tween in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Mike Bost and Demo­crat Bren­dan Kelly, St. Clair County vot­ers went 51 per­cent in fa­vor of Kelly and 45 per­cent in fa­vor of Bost, a dif­fer­ence of roughly 6,000 votes.

MADI­SON COUNTY

The GOP man­aged to keep a slim hold of its ma­jor­ity on the board with 15 seats vs. 14 Demo­cratic seats. The Repub­li­cans pre­vi­ously held 15 seats with one In­de­pen­dent seat and 13 Demo­cratic seats.

With a nearly equal num­ber of Democrats and Repub­li­cans, the board has made bi­par­ti­san achieve­ments over the past two years, County Board Chair­man Kurt Pren­zler said.

“Our sig­nif­i­cant ac­com­plish­ment was that a lot of our ac­com­plish­ments have been bi­par­ti­san,” Pren­zler said.

Re­duc­ing the county levy, ap­prov­ing money for a jail ren­o­va­tion project and pro­mot­ing job growth in the Amer­i­can Bot­toms are among those achieve­ments, the chair­man said.

Repub­li­cans still re­mained pop­u­lar in most of their dis­tricts. Repub­li­can board mem­ber Dal­ton Gray kept hold of his seat in Dis­trict 11 with 63 per­cent of the vote. Gray was ap­pointed in May af­ter Repub­li­can Brad Maxwell va­cated the seat to take a job lead­ing the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice in South­ern Illi­nois.

But in­cum­bent Repub­li­can James Futrell of Al­ton lost his Dis­trict 13 seat to Demo­crat Matthew King, who won with 51 per­cent of the vote.

Democrats also gained a seat when Robert Pol­lard, formerly an In­de­pen­dent, ran un­con­tested as a Demo­crat in Tues­day’s elec­tions.

The In­de­pen­dent party still had a chance to win in the race be­tween Su­san Press­wood, an In­de­pen­dent from Gran­ite City, and Chris Hank­ins, a Demo­crat from Pon­toon Beach. But Hank­ins, who was nom­i­nated af­ter the un­ex­pected death of in­cum­bent Demo­crat He­len Hawkins, won the seat with 60 per­cent of the vote.

In a change for the mostly Demo­cratic Gran­ite City area, long­time Demo­cratic board mem­ber Arthur Asado­rian lost his seat to Repub­li­can new­comer John “Eric” Foster.

Repub­li­can in­cum­bents Mick Madi­son, Ray­mond Wes­ley, Tom McRae, Clint Jones and Chrissy Dut­ton held onto their seats in con­tested elec­tions.

Dut­ton spear­headed an ef­fort to elim­i­nate the Recorder of Deeds po­si­tion and merge the Recorder’s of­fice with the County Clerk’s of­fice, an ef­fort that was suc­cess­ful in the polls Tues­day with 64 per­cent of vot­ers cast­ing their bal­lots in fa­vor of the mea­sure. Elim­i­nat­ing Recorder Amy Meyer’s salary could save the county at least $100,000.

Dut­ton said pass­ing the bal­lot mea­sure was a bi­par­ti­san ef­fort to re­duce the size of govern­ment.

“It passed through three bi­par­ti­san com­mit­tees and then get­ting it to the full board, where it passed 21 to six,” Dut­ton said. “The board gave the power to the peo­ple to de­cide what was im­por­tant, and they did.”

In­cum­bent Democrats Bruce Mal­one and El­iz­a­beth Dal­ton held onto their seats in con­tested elec­tions.

Only one seat was up for grabs be­tween Repub­li­can and Demo­cratic can­di­dates – the seat va­cated by Collinsville Repub­li­can Lisa Ci­ampoli, who de­cided not to run again.

Repub­li­can Chris Guy of Maryville won that seat for the GOP with 56 per­cent of the vote against Maryville Demo­crat Michael Bartsch.

It was a mixed bag in coun­ty­wide elec­tions, with in­cum­bent Demo­cratic County Clerk Deb­bie Ming-Men­doza de­feat­ing Stephen Adler with 53 per­cent of the vote. Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Trea­surer Chris Slusser kept his seat, too, with 55 per­cent of the vote.

Madi­son County trended slightly more Repub­li­can in the gover­nor’s race, with 47 per­cent vot­ing for Rauner and 45 per­cent vot­ing for Pritzker. Kelly won a 51 per­cent ma­jor­ity in Madi­son County, but Repub­li­can 13th Con­gres­sional Dis­trict in­cum­bent Rod­ney Davis won 53 per­cent over his chal­lenger in the county.

Frank Heili­gen­stein

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