BLOOMINGTON — A first-time candidate from Bloomington and a Colfax farmer have the inside track for McLean County Board seats this fall.
Democrat Shayna Watchinski, an electrocardiography technician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, and Republican Gerald Thompson will be on the Nov. 6 ballot in County Board districts 8 and 1, respectively, after winning contested primaries on Tuesday.
Watchinski easily beat Paul Segobiano, a Bloomington retiree who's served on the board more than 40 years. The vote was 998, or 70 percent, for Watchinski, to 413 for Segobiano. She will face Libertarian Steve Seuss in the fall election. A Republican candidate could still be slated.
Watchinski said she's proud to be part of a wave of local Democratic women running for office since the election of Republican President Donald Trump, including Normal City Council member Chemberly Cummings and Normal Township Supervisor Sarah Grammer.
“It means a lot to me. I started out in this whole process because I was feeling helpless after a tragedy my family had been through and the Trump election,” Watchinski said. “I’m proud to be part of this movement where so many have come together to improve the community.”
Segobiano congratulated Watchinski but declined to say if he'll vote for her.
“There aren’t any tears being shed here. The people have spoken, and I move on. ... When the sun comes up tomorrow and my wife is still here, I’ve got the world by the tail,” he said. "If there’s anything I have enjoyed, it’s my family’s support, the things we’ve done for kids in the community and what I’ve done on the board.”
Thompson trounced Jeremiah Houston, Carlock's mayor and a bus driver for First Student, 1,557 to 345. Thompson has no challenger in the fall election.
Thompson said he hopes to represent agricultural interests on the board and that his run as a write-in candidate in 2014 paved the way for Tuesday's win.
“People see the name again and say, 'This guy’s for real,'” said Thompson.
Houston said he hasn't decided whether he'll vote for Thompson.
"I was disappointed in tonight's results, but the people have spoken. I have congratulated my challenger and I will keep him in prayer with the new leadership role he has taken on," he said.
Don Cavallini will retire from the District 1 Republican seat.