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Watchinski, Thompson Win McLean County Board Races

Shayna Watchinski declared victory Tuesday over Democratic incumbent Paul Segobiano in their McLean County Board primary race.

Watchinski, a healthcare professional and well-known activist, gathered with campaign supporters Tuesday night at the Nightshop in downtown Bloomington. Those supporters included Democrat Carlo Robustelli, the other McLean County Board member who represents District 8. He endorsed Watchinski.

Watchinski declared victory just before 8:40 p.m. With all nine precincts reporting, Watchinski won 70.7 percent of the vote over Segobiano. District 8 includes much of Bloomington's west side.

“I am excited to bring a progressive new voice to county board,” Watchinski said after her win.

Watchinski said she wanted to focus on improving mental health services as a “key issue.” She said she would also work to change the meeting time of the board from 9 a.m. to the evening.

She promised a “progressive agenda.” Asked what that meant, Watchinski said, “For me, it means going out and listening to the constituents about what is important to them (and) what they expect of their representatives. I feel that has been missing a little bit. I think that is a change from what we have seen.”

She said Segobiano, who has been on the board for more than 40 years, “served for a long time and very well, but I am glad to bring a new voice to the board.”

Segobiano said he wasn't sure what led to his defeat, speculating it may indeed be the "year of the woman" in politics or that prominent local Democrats were working against him.

"Life is what it is, and the people have spoken," Segobiano told GLT. "I still feel I have a lot to give. ... I have no regrets about what I've done or what I will do in the future."

Watchinski faces Libertarian candidate Steve Seuss in the November general election.

Rural County Board Race

Watchinski was the victor in one of two primary battles Tuesday for McLean County Board seats.

Republican Gerald Thompson won in McLean County Board District 1 over his opponent, Jeremiah Houston. 

With all 18 precincts reporting, Thompson won with 81 percent of the vote over Houston, the Carlock mayor. Thompson is a third-generation farmer who lives east of Bloomington.

The District 1 seat is now held by Don Cavallini, who is stepping down. The district stretches across the northern half of the county and dips down to a couple points in the Town of Normal.

Thompson previously ran against Cavallini as a write-in candidate.

"The first time I ran, we built a good base, and that really paid off as we went out and talked to people." Thompson said. "I really appreciate the support I got. I really was humbled." 

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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