As a result of Tuesday's election, a new county clerk, state’s attorney and sheriff will join the incumbent treasurer as office holders in Saline County.
Also, four new county board members will join two incumbents.
In the county clerk’s race, Republican Roger Craig, of Harrisburg, captured 53.81 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Julie Dunn, of Harrisburg. Craig earned his spot on the ballot by defeating incumbent County Clerk Kim Buchanan in the primary.
“I talked to my opponent, who is a friend of mine, and thanked her for not running a mudslinging campaign,” Craig said. “Of course, I am going to hire her back, along with Kathy Cummins.”
Dunn has worked in the county clerk’s office nearly 30 years. She and Kathy Cummins, who worked in the county clerk’s office 15 years, were fired April 5 even though neither had any disciplinary action taken against them. They were reinstated April 26 by the county board and moved to other offices.
Both candidates said their decision to run for county clerk, in part, was to end the conflict between county board and clerk’s offices. The clerk and county board have been at battle for more than two years over everything from minutes at meetings, to payroll, to how money collected by the county clerk’s office should be split among funds.
Craig currently serves on Saline County Board and is retired from the tire business. He was U.S. Monopoly champion from 1995 to 1999 and competed in the world Monopoly championships in Monte Carlo in 1996.
Craig said he plans to operate the county clerk’s office “like a real business” and keep it under budget.
Incumbent Treasurer Jeff Murrie, of Harrisburg, will keep his seat. Saline County Republicans won a lawsuit challenging Democrat Danny Gibbs’ eligibility to run as a Democrat after he pulled a Republican ballot to vote in the primary election.
“I hope that we will be able to communicate better and serve the public better,” Murrie said.
He said the public and employees have suffered through dysfunction in the county.
“I hope we can put all this behind us and to serve the public better and to have better working conditions for our employees,” Murrie said.
He would like to see the office holders in the courthouse clean up the county’s reputation, start building people up and make them proud to live in Saline County.
Murrie was appointed treasurer in 2016 after the retirement of Treasurer Danny Ragan. Murrie owns Murrie Car Care Inc.
Incumbent State’s Attorney Jayson Clark, of Eldorado, narrowly lost his bid for re-election. Republican Molly Wilson Kasiar, of Eldorado, captured 50.6 percent of the vote to win the post.
Kasiar went into private practice after graduating from law school. She joined the Office of the Attorney General in 2012 and faculty at SIU School of Law before being appointed arbitrator for Illinois Worker’s Compensation Commission in 2013. She was reappointed in 2015.
Clark was an assistant state’s attorney when he was appointed to the office in 2017 after the death of State’s Attorney Mike Henshaw.
Republican J. “Whipper” Johnson defeated Sheriff Ken Clore, who was appointed after the resignation of Keith Brown in early September.
Johnson, of Harrisburg, has 25 years of law enforcement experience, which includes serving Saline County as a dispatcher, jailer, patrolman, patrol sergeant, detective, drug enforcement officer, SWAT operator and chief of police.
Clore, of Eldorado, was hired by Sheriff Keith Brown to be chief deputy in 2010 because that position was vacant. He worked for the FBI and Illinois State Police, retiring from ISP. After retirement, he taught law enforcement classes.
The new sheriff will contend with the same budget issues that have plagued the office the last few years. A public safety tax was on the ballot but was voted down by an overwhelming majority of Saline County voters. Less than 17 percent of votes were cast in support of the public safety tax.
Saline County voters filled six seats on the county board, including the seats currently held by Chairman Jay Williams, Joe Jackson, Karla Carrigan, Brandon Henshaw, Wes Sherrod and Carey Harbison. Williams and Sherrod, both Harrisburg Republicans, won their bids for re-election. Republicans Allen Porter of Equality and Jonathan Russell of Harrisburg as well as Democrats Bob Oglesby of Galatia and Bruce Tolley of Harrisburg will join them on the board.
For Williams, it meant a lot that voters chose to give him another term on county board.
"That's what I want to do, to serve the people," Williams said.
His hopes for the next four years are that the county will continue to balance its budget and the county board will work together to find ways to increase revenue without raising taxes.
"We need other businesses, like Little Tractor and Justin Ferrell," Williams said.
He added the county owns a lot of property that is for sale. He would like to see businesses come into the county on some of those properties.
"I want all of us in the courthouse to get along," Williams said. "As long as we can continue to work together and not make headlines in newspapers for the wrong reasons, we can move forward."