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5th GOP candidate announces for 105th Illinois House District

Kyle Ham
Former Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council Director Kyle Ham said he is running for state representative in the 105th House District.

The Republican primary in the new and vacant 105th Illinois House District is getting crowded. Five candidates have now announced a run.

The latest is Kyle Ham, the former executive director of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council.

Ham said the size of the field does not bother him.

"(I) welcome anybody that is willing to step up and take this plunge. Running a campaign is not easy. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of money, but I'm going to focus on what I bring to the table," said Ham.

The other announced candidates are Woodford County Sheriff's Deputy Dennis Tipsword, unsuccessful congressional candidate Don Rients of Benson, Livingston County Board member Mike Kirkton of Gridley, and former LaSalle County State's Attorney Karen Donnelly.

Ham said he'll emphasize his business experience with the economic development council, 25 years of political experience in campaigns and as chief of staff for former State Treasurer Dan Rutherford.

"I think that a valuable asset of mine is to have that understanding of how the state works and functions and ultimately bring some business background to the state with some fiscal responsibility," said Ham. "Every year — year in year out — where you are spending more money than you are bringing in, it's no way to run a business let alone a state government."

The 105th includes parts of nine counties. Ham said he has a substantial base.

"McLean County is about 20% of the district. It's north Normal, Hudson and Towanda, but there are five to six significant big subdivisions in the 105. My ties to Livingston County and Dan Rutherford and across the district having worked with him and certainly a lot of friends in the Washington area and Henry. In 25 years of campaigns I have been in every county. I know the state and have met a lot of people along the way and am excited to reconnect with those folks," he said.

The new district also includes parts of Bureau, Lasalle, Putnam, Woodford, McLean, Tazewell, Livingston, Marshall, and Peoria counties.

Ham said he is not sure how much money it will take to wage an effective campaign in the new nine-county district that has more than 100,000 voters in it.

"I think it's going to be north of $50,000 would be my guess. Our plan is just to lay out what we're going to do and then try to fund to the plan and try to execute that way. It really is hard to tell until after you get through the petition process," said Ham.

The current representative in the district, Deputy House Minority Leader Dan Brady, decided not to seek re-election and is running for Secretary of State.

The primary election is in June. The general election is in November.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.