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McLean County Board Member: 4 Candidates Seeking State’s Attorney Post

Jessica Woods and Don Knapp
Eric Stock
McLean County First Assistant State's Attorney Jessica Woods and County Assistant Administrator Don Knapp have emerged as two candidates for the county's state's attorney vacancy.

A McLean County Board member said Monday that four candidates have emerged in the search for a new state's attorney.

Current State's Attorney Jason Chambers leaves the office next month to become a circuit judge.

County Board member George Gordon, D-Normal, said two external candidates have expressed interest, along with two internal candidates: assistant County Administrator Don Knapp and First Assistant State's Attorney Jessica Woods, who heads the office’s civil division.

“Those kind of credentials would certainly put them on the front burner and it’s not out of the question that someone or others could join them on the front burner,” Gordon said.

Gordon added having two strong internal candidates makes for a great starting point.

“Here are Don and Jessica who know each other well, who I know respect each other and both of whom are respected by the board,” Gordon said. “That part of it makes it a little unusual in that sense, but I also think it helps the process stay a smooth one.”

McLean County officials did not disclose the external candidates, but former Assistant State's Attorney Jane Foster has confirmed to GLT she intends to file for the vacancy. Foster served as first assistant under State's Attorney Bill Yoder for two years, but lost in the 2012 primary when Chambers was elected. 

Gordon chairs the County Board’s Justice Committee, which has no formal role in the search process. But Gordon said County Board Chairman John McIntyre plans to seek the advice of County Board members before submitting his choice.

“The process to me seems to be clean and it's open and transparent,” Gordon said.

Chambers has not yet submitted his resignation. If Chambers resigns after Aug. 1, then the County Board will appoint his successor.

If he resigns before Aug. 1, the county would have to hold a special election for the seat in November. The Republican and Democratic party committees would each nominate a candidate with weights voted based on voter turnout in each precinct in the March primary.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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