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Contested Primary Races Draw Attention

By Randy Pierce

While things are relatively quiet for next Tuesday’s primary election in Madison County on the Democratic Party side, there are several contested races for various Republican Party positions that are being sought.

At the forefront and garnering considerable attention is the race for Madison County Sheriff with Jeff Connor and Jeff Larner each running for a place on next November’s ballot as Republican candidates, looking to succeed incumbent John Lakin who has announced his pending retirement when his term runs out next fall.

Conner is the current chief deputy for the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and commander of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis. Larner is a United States Marine Corps veteran who is the chief executive officer of a security and risk consulting firm with 10 years of law enforcement service for the police department in Decatur.

Republicans vying for a position on the November ballot in pursuit of the office of county clerk and recorder are Mike Walters of Godfrey and Linda Andreas of Maryville while the incumbent in that office, Debra D. Ming-Mendoza, is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

There is no one listed on the Democratic primary ballot for county treasurer while the Republican side shows incumbent Chris Slusser opposed by Doug Hulme of Edwardsville.

There are also some Madison County Board seats in the central/southeastern part of the county being contested in the Republican primary with one of those being in District 16, which generally covers the west end of Collinsville and extends a bit west of Interstate 255, with those candidates being Robert T. Meyer and Kristene Rosser Schmitt, one of who is expected win the nomination to run against incumbent Christopher Hankins in November.

In County Board District 22, which takes in an area roughly south and east of the core area of Collinsville, east of Illinois Route 159 and extending north of U.S. Route 40, the incumbent, Ryan Kneedler, is opposed on the Republican primary ballot by Mark D. Mauer with no Democratic candidate listed as running.

The county board district that covers an area which is primarily located east of Glen Carbon and northwest of Troy, number 24, features opposition to incumbent James “Jamie” Goggin by Charles “Skip” Schmidt.

County Board District 26 incumbent Erica Conway Harriss is seeking votes in the primary as the Republican candidate for state senator for the Illinois 56th Legislative District to run against incumbent Democrat Rachelle Aud Crowe in November.

This leaves Harriss’ county board seat open for the area that takes in much of Glen Carbon, mostly on its west side, so two men running on the Republican primary ballot seeking to fill it are Jason Palmero and Douglas A. Matthews.

In other primary races at higher levels than those for the county positions, there are four Republican candidates, Regan Deering, Matt Hausman, Jesse Reising and Terry Martin, along with two Democrats, Nikki Budzinski and David Palmer, all running in the primary for the United States Congressional 13th District seat for the area that was significantly altered in 2020.

The former incumbent in that 13th district, Rodney Davis, is now running in the 15th Congressional District and opposed on the Republican primary ballot by Mary Miller in a contest receiving considerable play in the form of pointed television advertising, much of it critical in nature.

The state’s 112th representative district is another one that has been subject to redrawing its boundaries with incumbent Katie Stuart on the Democratic primary ballot for her reelection and likely to be opposed in November by one of two running for this position in the Republican primary, Jennifer M. Korte of Edwardsville andd Joe Hackler of Granite City.

For further information about the primary election, go to

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