The McLean County Democrats announced Friday their full slate of County Board candidates for the 2020 election, looking to chip away at the GOP’s 13-to-7 majority—or take control entirely.
The Republican majority on the County Board shrunk from 15-5 to 13-7 after the 2018 election. For Democrats to win control, they’d have to protect two currently Democratic seats (George Gordon’s in District 6 and Carlo Robustelli’s in District 8) and also win four of five seats now held by Republicans.
McLean County Democrats Communications Chair Patrick Cortesi said this was the largest number of Democratic County Board candidates ever.
“There are obviously more progressive-minded people in this county than sit on that board. We’re anxious and excited to have a chance to put some people in those seats who will represent our principles and values,” Cortesi said.
The candidates announced Friday include:
Ben Webb, a high school teacher from Normal who ran unsuccessfully against Republican state Rep. Dan Brady in 2018. He’ll run in District 4 (northwest Normal). Republican County Board member Bill Caisley is not seeking re-election. He has endorsed Republican newcomer Adelita Cruz.
Rachael Lund of Normal, who is a researcher at State Farm and helped form the Young Democrats of McLean County. Lund is running in District 5 (northeast Normal). That seat is now held by Republican County Board chair John McIntyre.
Val Laymon of Bloomington, who works in the restaurant industry and has served as an election judge. Laymon will run in District 7 (near east Bloomington) for a seat currently held by Republican County Board member Jacob Beard.
Jackie Gunderson of Bloomington, who works full-time and is a part-time student at Lincoln College. She’s also served as director of the Penguin Project, an arts group for children and young adults with development disabilities. She’s running in District 9 (south Bloomington). Republican County Board member Susan Schafer is seeking re-election to that seat.
George Gordon of Normal is seeking re-election to his District 6 (Normal) seat. The former Illinois State University professor was first elected in 1996.
Jeff Bertrand of Heyworth is a Democratic precinct committeeman. He’s running in District 2 (southeast McLean County, including Downs, Heyworth, and LeRoy). That seat is now held by Republican William Friedrich, who was appointed to the seat in July. Friedrich said he plans to run in 2020.
Lea Cline of Bloomington is an art history professor at ISU and chairs the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission. She previously announced a run in District 8 (west Bloomington) after Democrat Carlo Robustelli announced he wouldn’t be seeking another term. Republican Jordan Baker, a student at Illinois Wesleyan University, is also running in District 8.
The candidates planned to announce their campaigns at 5 p.m. Friday at the Democrats headquarters in downtown Bloomington.
Cortesi said Democrats are still working to find candidates to run in the three remaining districts.
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