The Republicans decided their local candidates for November in decisive fashion Tuesday night.
In the race for Monroe County Sheriff, Neal Rohlfing easily defeated Joe Brauer to earn the Republican party nod. With all 37 county precincts reporting, plus early voting and mail-in absentees, Rohlfing garnered 2,196 votes to Brauer’s 881 (71 to 29 percent).
Rohlfing, a resident of Hecker who currently works for the Fairview Heights Police Department, will now face Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Dennis Schreder, a Democrat, in November to decide who will succeed longtime Monroe County Sheriff Dan Kelley.
Elmore, a Springfield native who currently resides in Waterloo, defeated former Monroe County Board member Frank Kohler of Hecker to earn the Republican party’s blessing for Monroe County Commissioner. Elmore received 1,616 votes to Kohler’s 1,196 (57.5 to 43 percent)
Elmore will face incumbent Monroe County Commissioner Mike Kovarik, a Democrat, in November.
Both Rohlfing and Elmore were on hand during a Tuesday night reception held in their honor at Joe Boccardi’s Ristorante in Columbia.
“This has truly been great and inspiring for me with the amount of support and excitement from both Republicans and Democrats for this campaign,” Rohlfing told an exciting group of supporters at the restaurant. “This is just one step. We have a lot of work to do.”
Elmore shared similar sentiments with his supporters.
“I want to thank all those who came out today and voted for me,” Elmore said. “I appreciate everyone’s hard work and support. I’m looking forward to continuing to work for the great citizens of Monroe County.”
Overall, voter turnout was low for Tuesday’s primary. Local Democrats only had one contested race to decide, that for Illinois Governor between incumbent Pat Quinn and Chicago activist Tio Hardiman.
Monroe County Clerk Dennis Knobloch reported voter turnout at around 16 percent, and that includes 382 early votes and another 101 mail-in absentees.
“With the sheriff’s race, I thought maybe we’d hit 20 percent,” he said.
Local Republicans also had the governor’s race to vote on as well as contested races for U.S. Senator and Illinois Treasurer.
In Monroe County, Quinn won easily over Hardiman, echoing the statewide vote.
On the Republican side, Kirk Dillard earned slightly more votes than Bruce Rauner locally, 1,044 votes to 1,015, but Rauner appears to have won the race statewide by a 40 to 37.5 percent margin (with 96 percent of all precincts reporting as of late Tuesday night). Other Republican gubernatorial candidates were Bill Brady and Dan Rutherford.
Jim Oberweis won easily over Douglas Truax in the Republican race for U.S. Senate, in both Monroe County and statewide. Oberweis will face longtime Democrat U.S. Senator Dick Durbin in November.
In the Republican race for Illinois Treasurer, Bob Grogan earned more votes in Monroe County than Tom Cross (1,375 to 1,149), but Cross won the statewide count by a roughly 57 to 43 percent margin.
Only a few minor mishaps were reported by precincts during Tuesday’s primary, Knobloch said, including paper feed problems on some machines and small mechanical issues.