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McLean County Board GOP primary results favor newcomers

Dennis Grundler watches election results
Emily Bollinger
McLean County Board candidate Dennis Grundler, left, attends at a watch party Tuesday night at Rob Dob's in Bloomington.

Two newcomers won Republican primary races for McLean County Board on Tuesday in districts that cover the southern half of the county.

District 2 covers southeastern McLean County, and District 3 makes up the south and west of the county. District 2 was an open seat currently held by longtime board member Jim Soeldner, who declined to run again. District 3 had longtime county board member George Wendt, 83, who had recovered from leukemia in recent years.

The winner of the McLean County Board District 2 Republican primary is Mike O’Neil, who beat Dennis Grundler. Grundler is also chair of the McLean County Republican Party.

Grundler said it is now important to get behind O'Neil for the November contest.

"Mike's the guy. I wish him the best of luck and we're going to hold him accountable and make sure he is conservative like he tells people. I know he didn't really do any interviews, so nobody really knows who Mike O'Neil is," said Grundler.

O’Neil won with roughly 75% of the vote.

In District 3, Brian Loeffler had a margin of 2-to-1 over 14-year incumbent George Wendt [67% to 33%].

Wendt had noted Republican Party representation on the board is tied with the Democratic party at 10-10, and argued the deadlock means it is important to retain a seasoned board member for another term.

“I think it's a good idea to have somebody that's had a lot of experience with the board to remain. And so that's why I've decided to run again. I may be old. But I've had a lot of experience,” said Wendt.

Loeffler did not respond to WGLT's pre-election requests for an interview.

In November, O’Neil will face Democrat Raul Martinez of Ellsworth, and Loeffler will square off against face Democrat Rob Ogborn of Shirley.

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