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.