Democrats Ruzic, Cahnman in only contested primary race for Sangamon County board

Sangamon County District 18 board member Rose Ruzic is getting a challenge from Sam Cahnman, who was first elected to the same seat 20 years ago.

It is the only contested primary in a year when all 29 board positions are up for election because of redistricting based on the 2020 U.S. Census. 

Both Ruzic and Cahnman are Democrats. No Republican has filed to run in the district.

The primary is June 28.

Ruzic, who works for Springfield Township Road District, was appointed to the board in 2011, filling out the 19th District term of Doris Turner, who was elected to the Springfield City Council. Turner is now a state senator representing the 48th district.

Ruzic was reelected in 2012 from the 18th District because of redistricting.

Rose Ruzic

Cahnman, an attorney, was the last candidate to file. He beat Republican incumbent Bradley Jones in 2002 to win a seat on the county board.

Cahnman served two terms as Ward 5 alderman, but lost a reelection bid to Andrew Proctor in 2015 and lost in 2019 to both Proctor and Lakeisha Purchase.

Cahnman also has run for the U.S. House, the Illinois Senate and the Illinois House.

In 2016, Cahnman had his law license suspended for 90 days due to his outside representation of a client who was suing the city on another matter. 

Cahnman was censured in 2014 by the Illinois Supreme Court, following an Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission Review Board finding that he misrepresented how he obtained a copy of a page of a judge’s private calendar in 2008.

Sam Cahnman

Vice chair running as write-in

Earlier in the spring, board vice chair Lori Williams, a Republican from Spaulding, filed for reelection in District 8 and then withdrew, noting there were several errors in her paperwork.

Those errors, Williams said, were related to the change in boundaries with the redistricting.

"Some friends had assisted me in getting some petitions signed and did not pay attention to any boundary lines and so although I had 40 signatures, I needed 17, but only 14 were from the new district," Williams said.

After withdrawing her candidacy, Williams refiled as a write-in candidate on March 17.

To be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, Williams will have to secure 17 votes in the primary.

Sangamon County Democratic Party chairman Bill Houlihan pointed out that it was Williams’ own party that reconfigured the maps and that her excuses "were not very good."

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Williams’ withdrawal came on the same day that Houlihan’s workers were checking on addresses in her county board district at the county clerk’s office.

"Something doesn’t add up to me," he said.

No Democrat filed in District 8, although the party could still draft someone to run in the fall, Houlihan said.

Hartman not running

District 28 board member Matt Hartman, who replaced Democrat Patricia Hayes in March after she resigned, did not file to run. 

The new map would have put Hayes and fellow Democrat board member Tony DelGiorno into the newlydrawn District 23. DelGiorno, who has been on the board since 2012, currently represents District 22.

Chicken coops or no?

Three incumbent countywide officeholders are back on the ballot and several communities will vote on propositions. 

  • Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell, Clerk Don Gray and Treasurer Joe Aiello are running unopposed in the primary. Campbell is a Democrat. Gray and Aiello are Republicans.
  • Residents of Clearlake will decide whether to dissolve the village.
  • New Berlin will vote on issuing $23.5 million in bonds for a variety of improvement projects for the school district.
  • Voters in Loami will decide whether to allow chicken coops within the village limits.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788,,

via The State Journal-Register

May 24, 2022 at 06:48AM

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