EFFINGHAM — All four Republican candidates for Effingham County sheriff were ready to file nominating petitions when the County Clerk's office opened at 8 a.m. Monday, the first day to file for positions on the March 18 primary election ballot.
Mike Schutzbach, Dave Mahon, Darren Feldkamp and John Gardner were all listed as filing at 8 a.m. While it is customary that the first person to file will be placed first on the ballot, a lottery will be held in this case because all four candidates were ready to file at 8.
The four men are vying for the opportunity to succeed three-term Sheriff John Monnet, who is retiring at the end of next year.
Schutzbach is the current Effingham city police chief. Feldkamp is an Effingham County sheriff's deputy, and Mahon and Gardner are both retired Illinois state troopers.
"I'm looking for the first spot on the ballot," Schutzbach said. "It seems to be a desirable position."
Schutzbach said filing as early as possible also allows personnel in the clerk's office more time to determine any irregularities in the petitions that can be fixed by the filing deadline of 5 p.m. Dec. 2.
"We want to make sure everything is in order, so there are no surprises," he said.
Feldkamp said he wasn't as concerned about ballot placement as he was about showing people that he wants the job.
"It (filing as early as possible) shows you are serious about being a candidate," he said.
Mahon said he didn't know how much of a factor ballot placement would be. But he did say that it was important to him that he be at the clerk's office at 8 a.m.
"I'm serious about this position," Mahon said. "I wanted to be here as early as I could be.
"It's important to be punctual," he added. "But I like to think Effingham County residents will research the candidates and vote accordingly, not depending on where they are at on the ballot."
The other countywide offices up for election next year are county clerk, treasurer and supervisor of assessments. County Clerk Kerry Hirtzel indicated that he would file for a fourth term, while Treasurer Steve Dasenbrock filed for a fifth and, he said, final term.
Dasenbrock, who was first elected in 1998, said by 2018, he will have been in office long enough.
"Twenty years is long enough to be an elected county official," he said.
Several Effingham County Board seats are up for election next year, including Districts B, C, D and G. Districts B, C, and D are all primarily in the city of Effingham, while District G covers a far-flung area in southwest Effingham County, including the communities of Mason and Edgewood.
Jackson Township resident Ed Hoopingarner was the only board candidate on hand at 8 a.m. Hoopingarner is seeking to unseat incumbent Doug McCain, who defeated him in last year's general election. A McCain defeat would leave District C board member Karen Luchtefeld as the only Democrat on the board, provided that Luchtefeld seeks another term.
See Tuesday's print edition, to see who else filed Monday.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at email@example.com