Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

April 10, 2013

25-year-old takes township seat

Bill Grimes
Daily News

---- — Tuesday was a tough day to be a Republican in Douglas Township — unless your name was Luke Doedtman.

Doedtman, the 25-year-old from Green Creek who won his first term as a township trustee as a 21-year-old college student, got the nod from Douglas voters in a big way during Tuesday's consolidated election.

Doedtman polled 816 votes, well above incumbent Democrat Nick Althoff, who finished with 688. Two other Democrat incumbents, Paul Rexroat and Art Kinkelaar, finished third and fourth, respectively, in the six-man race. Republican Wayne Russell and Democrat Donald Koester rounded out the field.

While most of Douglas Township is contiguous with the city of Effingham, it also includes Doedtman's home area of Green Creek north of the city. Doedtman took advantage of a relatively large voter turnout of 35 percent in the Green Creek precinct to pad his lead.

"I'm just looking forward to helping Effingham move forward and keep on growing," Doedtman said.

Doedtman was the only Republican to win in Douglas Township. Two-term incumbent Supervisor Ron Overbeck bested former Effingham mayor John Lange in the supervisor's race, 806-579, while incumbent Clerk Mary Jo Althoff had a closer race with challenger Peggy Campbell, 703-645.

In a three-way race for highway commissioner, longtime township employee Kurt Haarmann defeated Republican Michael Williamson and independent Tim Koester. Haarmann finished with 645 votes, compared to 536 for Williamson and 178 for Koester.

Overbeck downplayed the significance of party affiliation on the township level.

"It doesn't matter on the township level," he said. "I think people vote for the person — for the name."

Overbeck admitted he was concerned after Lange entered the race.

"Why wouldn't I be?" he asked. "John's got a good name. It was just two old veterans going against each other."

Lange said Overbeck will continue to do a good job as supervisor.

"I want to congratulate Mr. Overbeck for winning the election," he said. "Overall, I'm very happy for those who won and very sorry for those who lost."

Township Assessor James Ping was the only Douglas candidate to run unopposed in Tuesday's election.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.