New 37th District state senator likely to be named Sunday

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Mercer County Republican Chairman said today (Oct. 1) that a new state senator from the 37th District should be named Sunday (Oct. 4) afternoon.

Darin LaHood of Peoria began serving in the state Senate in March of 2011 after the retirement of Dale Risinger. After former Congressman Aaron Schock resigned earlier this year, LaHood threw his hat into the ring. He won the July 7 GOP primary, with 69 percent of the vote compared to 28 percent for Mike Flynn.

LaHood then went on to defeat Democrat Rob Mellon in the Sept. 10 special election.

Ron Deedrick of the Illinois Senate Republican Committee staff said LaHood officially resigned Sept. 17.

"As soon as he resigned on the 17th at noon, that started a 30-day time period for him to be replaced," Deedrick said.

The responsibility for naming a replacement falls to the Republican county chairmen of the 10 counties making up the 37th District, including Mercer.

"Last week we accepted applications and that process was concluded on Monday (Sept. 28)," Mercer County GOP Chairman Brian Anseeuw said Thursday.

Anseeuw said all the county chairmen have reviewed the applications.

"We will be interviewing candidates on Sunday (Oct. 4), and at that time we'll be making our decision," he said. "I think there were probably seven or eight" candidates seeking the appointment.

Among those reported as possible candidates are Peoria City Council members Ryan Spain and Chuck Weaver. Peoria County Board member Brian Elsasser is also reported to have interest in the job.

The far-flung district includes all or part of Mercer, Peoria, Woodford, Marshall, Stark, Knox, Henry, LaSalle, Lee and Bureau counties. While most of the counties are rural, Peoria is more urban. Mercer County is at the far western edge of the district. Anseeuw was asked how the county's location and rural character shapes his decision making.

"You kind of want to look at their history, as to who they are," he said. "If they're city people, they're not going to relate well to us. … We're forgotten out here."

That said, Anseeuw praised LaHood.

"Darin has always been a supporter of ours," Anseeuw said.