Erik Rankin said Monday he won’t be seeking another term as chair of the McLean County Democrats as he prepares for his 2020 run for circuit clerk.
Rankin, a former McLean County Board member, plans to serve out the rest of his term as chair through April 2020. That’s when local Democrats will elect their new chair.
Rankin said he can’t “serve two masters” and needs to devote his full energy to winning his November 2020 matchup against incumbent GOP circuit clerk Don Everhart.
“I just don’t think elected officials are most effective when they’re also part of party leadership,” Rankin told WGLT.
Rankin was elected party chair in April 2018, succeeding longtime leader John Penn. Rankin won what was originally a three-person race for chair. The two other candidates, Dorothy Deany and Patrick Cortesi, continued to work in leadership roles with the party.
Rankin said he’s proud of what his energized party has accomplished in the past two years, including increased fundraising, a new headquarters in downtown Bloomington, and a record number of Democratic candidates trying to get on the ballot for 2020.
“For all intents and purposes, everything about our party has been successful,” Rankin said. “We are really, really in a good place.”
The next party chair must be an elected precinct committeeperson. Rankin, who works at Illinois State University, declined to say who he thinks should succeed him as chair.
“There are a couple people I have in mind, but I’ll hold that fairly close to the chest until we get a little bit closer and make sure we know who will be the next precinct committeepeople.
“I know somebody else can pick up the banner and do a great job,” he said.
Rankin made his first public comments about leaving as chair Monday on the PodBN podcast.
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