Turner still on city council; special election may be ahead

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Doris Turner

The City of Springfield has not received a resignation letter from Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner, who Saturday was selected and sworn in as State Senator from the 48th District, replacing Andy Manar.

In a statement released Monday, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said the city will outline the process for filling Turner’s vacancy once it receives her resignation.

The last time there was a resignation of a City Council member was in 2016 when Ward 6 Ald. Cory Jobe resigned to take a job in Chicago.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is introduced to Nykia Henderson, left, her twin sister, Nykeyla Henderson,  center, and Derrick Roberts, right, by Ward 3. Ald. Doris Turner as she explains their efforts in organizing local Black Lives Matter peaceful protests as he visits with them and religious leaders during a roundtable discussion at Union Baptist Church, Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Springfield, Ill. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

Because of the timing, Jobe’s resignation triggered a special election in April 2017 between Kristin DiCenso and Martin Fruchtl. DiCenso won the election.

Turner was elected in April 2019. If she resigns before April, another special election would be held at a to-be-determined date.

More:Springfield’s Doris Turner selected as new 48th District state senator

More:Springfield attorney, businessman Don Tracy selected as Illinois Republican Party chair

Langfelder, with weigh-in from the City Council, would appoint a temporary replacement for Ward 3.

In 2016, Barry Becker, a former alderman, was named as Jobe’s replacement.

“I have known Senator Turner for decades, from her time of service on the County Board, City Council, and now as Senator for Springfield and Sangamon County," Langfelder said in the statement. "Even though she is leaving her seat at the City Council, we look forward to continuing our work together on issues important to Springfield.”

Manar of Bunker Hill resigned his Senate seat on Jan. 17 to become a senior adviser to Gov. JB Pritzker.

Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter said Turner has been "a key leader" on projects like the relocation of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, the 10th Street Rail Project and the formation of the Springfield/Sangamon Growth Alliance and the development of downtown campus for the University of Illinois Springfield and Southern Illinois University.

"I know she will continue to lead on these issues as a state senator," said Van Meter, a Republican.

Turner did not return a phone call from The State Journal-Register.

Meanwhile, Dan Kovats will serve as interim chair of the Sangamon County Democratic Party, another position that Turner held.

Kovats, reached Monday, said he would stay on at that position through the Apr. 6 consolidated election.

Sometime after that, he said, elected and appointed precinct committeepersons within the county will elect a new chair.

Kovats said county Democrats have about 15 candidates in the April election.

"We’re working with them making sure they have solid campaign plans, making sure we’re doing voter contacts, and getting them in positions to hopefully be elected in April," he said.

Kovats was elected vice-chair in 2012, the year Turner was first elected chair.

"It’s been an absolute pleasure and honor to work with her," Kovats said. "It’s her leadership that’s put her in this position to be appointed to the state senate and where we’ve seen dramatic changes in getting Democrats elected here locally both on the county board and on the municipal level."

Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder, left, talks with Ward 3 Ald. Doris Turner, center, and Ward 2. Ald. Shawn Gregory, right, prior to a ceremony with U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt to declare the 1908 Springfield Race Riot Site as the 30th addition to the African American Civil Rights Network at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Thursday, August 20, 2020, in Springfield, Ill. [Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register]

In 2019, Kovats said Sangamon County had the most women running for public office outside of Cook County in the state.

"I’m hoping to continue that, even for the short term to help usher in some more elected Democrats," Kovats said.

In 2022, Kovats said county Democrats will push to get Turner reelected, along with Gov. Pritzker and U.S. Tammy Duckworth as well as eyeing more seats on the Sangamon County Board.

"There’s a lot of prime opportunity," Kovats said. "We’ve seen several districts trending more and more Democratic over the last cycles, so we’re definitely going on the offense locally."

Newly-elected Illinois Republican Party chairman Don Tracy, an attorney and businessman from Springfield, said Saturday that Pritzker is "a weakened governor who can be defeated. We have a U.S. Senate seat to win. We are well-positioned to win back Congressional seats. We can claw back seats in the state legislature if we recruit the right candidate."

Contact Steven Spearie: 622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.

via The State Journal-Register

February 8, 2021 at 05:37PM

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