Henry County GOP hopes Jon Zahm can unseat incumbent clerk/reporter, official says
Henry County Republicans are pinning their hopes on Cleveland Village Clerk and former local Tea Party chairman Jon Zahm to unseat longtime Clerk/Recorder Barbara Link in next year's general election, a county GOP official said during a recent interview.
"We're pleased to have Jon file his petition and being willing to challenge and incumbent of long standing; that's always important," Henry County GOP Chairman Jan Weber told Rock Island Today in a telephone interview. "We would hope that the county clerk's position could be flipped."
Zahm's candidacy was among a number of Republican races in next year's election that Weber discussed.
Zahm, an Osco precinct committeeman who announced his run for clerk/recorder during the Henry County Fair in June, is expected to be unopposed in the Republican primary in March. He is challenging Link, the four-term incumbent.
Zahm, president of Goliath Slayer Communications and longtime political campaign strategist and manager in multiple states, has been the bane of a number of incumbent candidates over the years, according to his Goliath Slayer biography.
His political career includes being a member of the Kane County Republican Executive Committee, being elected three times as a Republican Precinct committeeman in Batavia Township and being former Batavia Zoning Board of Appeals member, according to his bio. He also served on Kane County Regional board of school trustees from 2003 to 2008, including the last three years as president, and has been founder and chairman of the Kane County Conservative Coalition, Henry County Tea Party and Illinois Gun Owner Rights Organization, according to his bio.
He also is a former Orion School Board member and in 2010 was elected to the Henry County Board, where he served a single term.
Zahm is not the only Republican candidate headed into the March primary unopposed, Weber said. Henry County Sheriff Kerry Loncka will make his first run for office after being appointed in June, Weber said.
"So he will be running for the very first time," she said. "It appears that the Democrats, to the best of my knowledge, did not file a candidate against him. So we're excited about that, he's doing a good job in his first six months."
Meanwhile, Henry County Treasurer Tim Wells, a Republican, will seek a second term, Weber said.
"He doesn't have a primary opponent and probably won't have a general election opponent," she said.
Ten positions also are up on the county board, and the Henry County GOP has its eye on all of them, Weber said.
"Currently nine of those positions are held by Republicans, and we have 10 candidates running," she said. "So, we'll continue to work hard and hopefully be able to retain all nine of those seats and maybe take our No. 10."
"We are fortunate to have two candidates on the ballot for that position who are Republican," Weber said. "So, we'll hope whomever of those candidates prevails in the primary will be able to prevail and give Congresswoman Bustos a run for her money come next fall."
One of the issues most important to Henry County voters is accountability, Weber said.
"People are really asking for accountability in county government about how their taxes are spent," she said.
She referred to the Henry County Board's recent passage of a resolution for a non-deficit budget.
"We've been having deficit budgets," Weber said. "The county board is tasked with keeping county expenses in line and keeping services where they are. I think continuing to be able to do that and to provide those services that people have grown to expect, plus those that are mandated by state statute. So we want to keep that accountability and continue to work hard to be open and transparent, making sure that all of these are publicized, that the minutes of the meetings of county government are available to people with ease."
Henry County GOP also expects soon to announce candidates for committeemen, including contested races.
"I anticipate we'll have a number of people run for precinct committeemen and to run against as well," she said. "We'll be very active in making sure that we will as many of those slots as possible and getting more people involved. Because the more people we have involved, the better job we can do of doing the work that needs to be done for the party and all of our constituents."