Swanson wins three-way race for GOP nomination in 74th House District

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record
Republican nominee Dan Swanson at a late January event in Aledo.

Daniel Swanson won the Republican nomination for the 74th District House seat, polling 8,363 votes to 5,874 for Michael DeSutter and 2,793 for Wayne Saline. Swanson will now face Democrat Bill Butts in November.

The votes in Mercer County followed the same pattern as in the rest of the district, with 1,086 for Swanson, 789 for DeSutter and 492 for Saline. Those are unofficial results. Swanson won every county in the district except Knox, where he finished second to DeSutter. DeSutter lives near the Knox/Henry County line.

Swanson, of rural Alpha, said he was pleased with the support he received in Mercer County.

"Very excited and very pleased to see how strong Mercer County supported me," he said by phone. "Mercer County was the first county that came in and I was overwhelmed."

Swanson admitted to feeling some butterflies as he and family and friends waited for results as the polls closed at 7 p.m.

"At 7:01, I began getting nervous last night," he said with a laugh.

It was a good night all around for the candidate. He and his family were able to celebrate his father's 81st birthday and he received a call from Don Moffitt, the man who has held the seat in Springfield for 24 years. In addition, "both of them (Saline and DeSutter) called me last night (Tuesday) and offered their support."

Swanson said he and his wife had decided they would rest this (March 16) morning, then get started on the November campaign in the afternoon.

"She's resting, but I'm not," he chuckled.

Wayne Saline of rural Rio said of the campaign, "It was interesting, it was fun, it was challenging and discouraging for me."

He said the campaign showed him how many problems there are in Springfield.  

"I hope we get the problems solved," Saline said. "I think Dan will do a good job."

DeSutter said there were definitely positives about the campaign.

"I thought we met some wonderful people along the way," he said, also complimenting the help from the campaign's volunteers. "It was an issues-based campaign and hopefully focuses the state on some of the things it needs to do.

"I wish Dan the best of luck," DeSutter added.

Asked if he would ever take on a campaign of this magnitude again, he said, "It's too early to say. Never say never."

He said "it wasn't a job I needed," but his frustration with how the state is operating made him throw his hat into the ring with the hope of being elected and helping straighten out some things.

Butts, a Galesburg attorney, ran unopposed in the primary. He said he's still been doing a lot of campaigning.

"I've been really working on my base, which is the typical Democratic voter," Butts said. "I'm prepared to move into the general (election) now."

While Moffitt held the seat for 12 terms and Republican Carl Hawkiinson held it before him, Butts is hopeful.''

"The district has shifted so much," he said. "He (Moffitt) had already been an incumbent for a number of years" before those shifts came about. He noted President Obama carried the 17th District, which also elected Democrat Cheri Bustos to the U.S. House.

"It's challenging, of course, but it's winnable," Butts said.

He said the first thing that has to be done is to get away from reliance on property taxes, in order to make education funding fair and give farmers tax relief.

"First and foremost, we've got to get a budget. This is insane."

Asked, if elected, he can work across the aisle, Butts said, "I think the bottom line is I'll probably have a lot more in common with my fellow Downstate representatives (who are Republicans) than the north (Democrats). I will represent my district."