WOODSTOCK – The Democratic Party of McHenry County will meet Saturday morning to elect a replacement candidate for 63rd Illinois House Rep. Jack Franks.
Precinct committeemen from the 63rd District will vote at Woodstock Public Library to officially choose the candidate, party Chairman Michael Bissett said. Franks, of Marengo, is running for McHenry County Board chairman instead after serving nine two-year terms in Springfield.
He officially withdrew from the race Thursday by filing the required form with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Under the law, the Democratic Party has eight days from the filing to select a replacement.
Whoever the party selects will run against Republican challenger Steven Reick, of Woodstock, who unsuccessfully ran against Franks in 2014.
This election is the first in which the County Board chairman will be popularly elected – a 2014 voter referendum ended the long-standing practice of the 24 members of the County Board voting among themselves to choose one. Franks is running against Republican candidate and County Board member Michael Walkup, R-Crystal Lake.
While the contested chairman race gives the Democratic Party a shot of winning the countywide office, it also gives Republicans a shot at reclaiming the 63rd District seat, which Franks first won in 1998 after a nasty GOP primary fight weakened the winning candidate.
The 63rd District covers northern and western McHenry County and includes all or parts of Marengo, Union, Harvard, Hebron, Johnsburg, Woodstock, McHenry, McCullom Lake, Wonder Lake, Ringwood and Richmond.