Illinois’ 36th state Senate District sees matchup between familiar names

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Illinois’ state Senate District 36 has some familiar faces running for the seat. 

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms will face former state Rep. candidate Glen Evans in the Republican primary, while State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Current state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, was drawn out of the district during the state legislative remapping process, leaving the seat open for the 2022 election.

The primary election on June 28 will determine which Democrat and Republican candidate will be on the ballot for the Nov. 8 general election.

May 19 was the first day to send in vote-by-mail ballots or vote in person at the Rock Island County clerk’s office, 1504 Third Ave., Rock Island.

Republicans

Mike Thoms

Thoms won reelection as Rock Island mayor in the April, 2021 municipal election. If he wins election to the state Senate, he would be allowed to remain mayor.

Thoms, 63, is a lifelong resident of Rock Island and attended Black Hawk College. He retired in 2005 after 29 years with Thoms-Proestler Co., a family-owned wholesale food service company where he worked his way up from warehouse worker to vice president of operations, managing 250 employees.

Thoms has been a longtime community volunteer with a focus on youth services. He sits on the boards of directors for Junior Achievement, HavLife Foundation, the Putnam Museum, the YMCA and the YWCA Quad Cities, working to raise money for construction of the new facility in downtown Rock Island. He also serves on the facilities committee for the Rock Island-Milan School District and previously sat on the board of directors for Bethany for Families and Children.

When he announced his candidacy in October, Thoms said his business and management experience made him the better candidate.

“My experience in dealing with people has taught me how to negotiate, compromise and talk to people. Those are some of my strengths,” he said. “I’ve started several businesses and investments with people since then. I understand the economy and economic development better than my opponent.”

Evans most recently challenged State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, in the 2018 and 2020 elections, losing both times. He previously ran as a Democrat in about 20 different local races. He has lost every election with the exception of two precinct committeeman races. He has run for Rock Island-Milan school board, Rock Island city council, Rock Island County board, Rock Island Township supervisor and twice for Rock Island County clerk.

When he announced his candidacy for state Senate in August, he said he changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican five years ago after attending a training with Americans for Prosperity, a Conservative political action group founded by the Koch brothers.

Evan, 52, is an ordained minister with Wings of Faith Ministries, working with several churches in the area. He also is a member of Laborer’s Local 309, serving as auditor from 2016 to 2018.

“I am on the ballot because I am dissatisfied with what I see in community I grew up in,” Evans said. “I want to make it better.”

Halpin is unopposed in the Democratic primary election. He was elected state Representative for the 72nd District in 2016 and reelected in 2018 and 2020. He was elected Rock Island County Democratic Party Chairman in May, 2021. 

Halpin, 42, is a native of Voorheesville, New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island with a bachelor of arts degree in political science in 2001. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 2008 with his law degree. He moved to Illinois after being hired by Congressman Lane Evans as a staff assistant and scheduler and served as law clerk for the Honorable Rita B. Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court from 2008 to 2010.

He currently works as an attorney for McCarthy, Callas & Feeney, P.C., of Rock Island, focusing on family law, labor and employment law and real estate law. 

“Running for Senate is an opportunity for me to continue to represent people in western Illinois that are asking for help and asking for policies that are going to lift up them and their families,” Halpin said when he announced his candidacy in September. 

Who’s running

Republicans

Mike Thoms

Age: 63

Residence: Rock Island

Occupation: Mayor of Rock Island; retired from family-owned company Thoms-Proestler Co.

Prior held elected office: Current two-term mayor of Rock Island

Glen Evans

Age: 52

Residence: Rock Island

Occupation: Minister with Wings of Faith Ministries

Prior held elected office: None, although Evans has run and lost several races, including state Representative and Rock Island County clerk. 

Democrat

Mike Halpin

Age: 42

Residence: Rock Island

Occupation: Attorney with McCarthy, Callas & Feeney, P.C., of Rock Island.

Elected experience: Current state Rep. for the 72nd District. 

How to vote in the June 28 primary

Early voting

Early voting for the partisan primary elections is underway in Rock Island County.

In-person: You can vote early at the County Clerk’s Office, 1504 3rd Ave., Rock Island, during normal business hours on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. until June 17. The Clerk’s Office will also be open for early in-person voting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays from June 20-27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 18 and June 25, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 19 and June 26.

Voters can also drop off completed ballots using a secure drop box available 24/7 in front of the County Clerk’s Office.

County residents can also vote early at the following satellite voting locations from June 13 to June 24 during the following times:

Western Illinois University, 3300 River Drive, Moline: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday 

Silvis City Council Chambers, 121 11th St., Silvis: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

Milan Municipal Building, 405 E. 1st St., Milan: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday 

Moline Public Library, 3210 41st St., Moline: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday

By mail: June 23 is the last day for the Clerk’s Office to receive an application in order to mail out an absentee ballot. Visit the Rock Island County Clerk’s website or call the County Clerk’s Office at 309-786-8683 to request an application. 

Voting on Primary Day

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28. Find your polling place online at rockislandcounty.org/Elections/Home/.

For more information call: 309- 786-8683.

Sample ballots are available online at www.VoteRICounty.org.

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May 27, 2022 at 05:04PM

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