March 2024 Primary Results For Local Contested Races

By Benjamin Cox on March 20, 2024 at 11:51am

Many of the races in the region were decided at a rapid pace last night.

The overall narrative for the March primary is low voter turnout. Most of the listening area saw less than 20% turnout. The lone anomaly was in Brown County who had 25%, which is historically below their normal trend.

In Jacksonville, turnout was plagued by cold temperatures in the morning. As the day warmed up, more people began showing up at the polls. Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggener says yesterday’s election had a few minor problems that were easily resolved. She attributed most of the issues to the early morning work and getting back into the swing of election work for the county’s election judges. Preliminary numbers were finalized just after 9:30PM in Morgan County last night. Turnout and operations are expected to be much larger for the General Election in November.

Morgan County results were decided fairly early and in resounding fashion in the competitive races. One of the races that had most of the questions in the county revolved around the Circuit Clerk’s race. Incumbent Julia Anderson passed away in early February, but her name remained on the ballot. An Anderson win would have triggered an extensive process and several questions. Challenger Jennifer Bonjean answered the questions by defeating Anderson 2,236 to 1,134. Bonjean says she’s thankful for the voters and her close supporters: “I’m obviously very excited and I really appreciate everybody’s support. I’m looking forward to getting started.” Bonjean and Anderson worked along side of each other as deputy clerks under former clerk Amy Sipes. Bonjean says the race would likely have been much different if not for Anderson’s sudden passing: “Julia is a tough opponent. She had a lot of experience. It would have been a more difficult race if she was still with us.” With no likely opposition from a Democratic nominee, Bonjean will return to the Clerk’s Office after the November General Election.

In the race for Morgan County Coroner, Republican incumbent Marcy Patterson staved off a challenge from Alan McClellan by a wide margin. Patterson received 2,485 votes to McClellan’s 979. Patterson says she was surprised with the resounding win: “It makes me feel blessed to live in Morgan County. I’m thankful for all of my friends and family and supporters that came out to make this happen. I’m kind of speechless, which doesn’t happen too often. I was stunned by the margin of victory. I believed that it would be very close. It’s been a long month of working on the campaign, and I didn’t think it would be separated that much. It’s amazing and it feels great with the win.”

In the other countywide race last night, Donny “Racer” Wood took home the Republican nomination for the vacant Morgan County Commissioner seat. Wood ended the night with 1,284 votes. Next closest was Mike Lonergan at 1,088 followed by Garrett Waggener at 788, and Tim Hughes with 318.

Wood will square off with Democrat Dr. Michael Woods in the November General Election. Woods had no challenger in the Democratic primary and pulled 576 votes.

The only other countywide seat that was up for election was States Attorney. Republican incumbent Gray Noll had no challenger. He ended the night with 3,141 votes. However, there were 430 undervotes in the race.

In the 99th Legislative District, former Quincy mayor Kyle Moore had a decisive victory in the Republican Primary for the 99th Legislative District last night. Moore defeated Cass County Board member Eric Snellgrove of Beardstown 6,628 to 2,393.

Moore took victories in all of the counties in the district, with the closest margin in Snellgrove’s home county of Cass. Moore says having such overwhelming support means a lot to him, and is now looking at meeting as many people as he can in the district prior to the November election. Moore will likely take over the seat in November from the retiring Randy Frese of Paloma, who announced in September that he won’t be running for reelection. There is no Democratic candidate for state representative in the 99th House district.

Several surrounding counties had contested races.

In Greene County, Republican Carrollton attorney Donnie Schaaf defeated Jerseyville-based attorney Dayna Church-Switzer 769-324. Schaaf will likely face no opposition in the November General Election, as there were no Democrat nominees. Schaaf will replace Caleb Briscoe, who opted not to seek reelection.

Three Republicans vied for a shot for a spot coming open on the Greene County Board this November. Former board member Charlie Helton defeated incumbent Bob Hall and challenger Joshua Lawson. Helton defeated Lawson by just 3 votes to claim victory last night 900-897. However, the race remains uncalled at this time due to remaining vote-by-mail ballots. The winner will face off against Democrat David McGraw in the General Election for the open seat.

Unopposed county-level races in Greene County included Shirley Thornton, the Republican nominee for Circuit Clerk, and Brady Milnes, the Republican nominee for Coroner. Milnes will face Democrat incumbent Danny Powell in November.

Pike County had just one contested race last night. Three at-large county board seats were up for election. Challenger Lance Kendrick had the most votes at 1,025. Incumbents Joseph Cobb and James Sheppard likely retain their seats with 966 and 965 votes respectively. Incumbent Derek Ross is currently on the outside looking in with 935 votes, with vote-by-mail ballots still outstanding.

Brown County had two contested county races last night on the Republican ticket. For the Republican nominee for Circuit Clerk, Brooke Robinson defeated Niki Maxwell 586 to 145.

For four seats on the county board, there were four seats up for vacancy. Incumbents Mark Yingling, Karl Groesch, and Bob Willis retained their seats as the top 3 vote getters. Challenger Robert Akright took the final spot, knocking out incumbent Courtney Garfield 453-385.

Write-in candidate Michael B. Myers ran unopposed for a 2-year unexpired term. Also running unopposed was State’s Attorney Michael Hill.

In Macoupin County, Republican voters were choosing the candidate for the local Circuit Judge. Long-time judge Kenneth Diehl is retiring from the bench in November. Carlinville attorney Thomas Denby won decisively with 2,534 votes defeating challengers Jonathan Verticchio with 940 votes and Aaron Bellm with 532 votes.

In Morgan County, Waverly precinct voters had the lone referendum last night, asking voters to establish a Waverly Fire Protection District. Voters approved the measure by a vote of 178-89.

There was one Congressional primary in the area last night.

Virden businessman Joshua Loyd defeated Champaign law school student and former Jacksonville resident Thomas Clatterbuck in the 13th District Republican primary. Loyd finished with nearly 56% of the vote across the long district to Clatterbuck’s 44%.

In the 15th Congressional District, Mary Miller received no opposition on the Republican ticket, and there was no Democrat candidates.