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McLean County Board member Bill Caisley, right, shakes hands with Adelita Cruz after announcing he'll step down in 2020 and endorse her as his successor at an event Thursday at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, Normal.

BLOOMINGTON — The longest-tenured Republican on the McLean County Board will step down, but he's throwing his support behind a possible successor.

Bill Caisley, who will be 80 and will have served 14 years on the board in 2020, is not seeking reelection and will instead endorse State Farm employee and rookie candidate Adelita Cruz, he announced Thursday.

"The time was ripe for me to conclude my County Board service, at least at this time, with a new county administrator. ... We have also completed the construction of a needed addition to the county jail," said Caisley. "I'm pleased to support an outstanding young Republican."

Cruz said she's excited to get involved in local politics after moving to McLean County in 2015. She volunteers at Bloomington Area Career Center and has worked as a tutor at Heartland Community College.

"It's been exciting to be part of this county and see all that it has to offer," she said. "The county departments run some programs that are important to our citizens and that are important to me, such as veterans affairs (and) mental health. ... With my help and my vote, I can ensure these programs are properly funded." 

Caisley represents District 4, which covers parts of northwest Normal and rural areas north of town. Democrat Logan Smith also represents the area but is not on the ballot in 2020.

"While I've been serving the people of District 4, there have been seven other people who have held the other County Board seat. ... It's been a revolving thing while I've been busy serving," said Caisley.

Caisley noted he's served with four county administrators — John Zeunik, Terry LindbergBill Wasson and now Camille Rodriguez — and he always enjoyed finding and hiring a new leader for the county staff. Caisley said the county has had success hiring from within because its staff is strong.

Cruz is the latest in a wave of candidates to announce bids with petition filing about six weeks away.

McLean County Board District Map

Democrat Lea Cline and Republican Jordan Baker have announced runs for a District 8 seat to be vacated by Democrat Carlo Robustelli, and Republicans Josh Barnett, William Friedrich and Susan Schafer will seek reelection.

Other board members with expiring terms are Democrat George Gordon and Republicans Jacob Beard, John McIntyre, Catherine Metsker and George Wendt.

Democrats hope to take control of the County Board in 2020 after gaining two seats in 2018, moving to 13 Republicans and seven Democrats. Libertarians may also vie for seats after retaining ballot access in 2018.

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Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh

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