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Darren Bailey

Republican Darren Bailey captured his party’s nomination the 55th State Senate District on Tuesday. And since no Democrats ran in the primary, he’s virtually assured the seat after the November general election.

Results for Jasper, Lawrence and Richland Counties were not available by press time, but in the other 10 counties in the district, Bailey had a commanding 79 percent of the vote to opponent Jeffrey Fleming’s 21 percent. Bailey earned 1,669 votes in Effingham County while Fleming walked away with 153 votes.

Bailey sought a change of office this election; he has served as representative of the 109th House District since 2018. He will run in the November election to replace Dale Righter, R-Mattoon, who did not seek re-election for the 55th Senate District.

Bailey took an early lead roughly an hour and a half after polls closed at 7 p.m. He quickly took Edwards County with all 12 precincts reporting by 8:30 p.m.; Bailey had 1,252 votes in the county to Fleming’s 123 votes.

Bailey swept the 10 counties with unofficial results available in his district, including some area counties. In Clay County, Bailey earned 2,618 votes, 1,341 in Cumberland County and 2,666 in Coles County.

Prior to Tuesday’s election, Bailey said his honesty and accountability set him apart from Fleming.

“As the current state rep for the 109th, it is fair to say that the residents of our district are more informed and represented than they have ever been, and maybe more so than any district in the state,” Bailey said. “I am very available and always listening to problems and concerns. My opposition wants to return to business as usual in Illinois.”

Bailey said in a pre-election interview with the Effingham Daily News that he intends to be a legislator that his constituents can trust and rely upon while he holds others and the process accountable.

The former state representative added that he was working on and will continue to hammer away at ending tax payer-funded abortions and eventually abortion as a whole. He said he would also like to get rid of the FOID card and shrink state spending and the government as a whole.

Much like in his 2018 campaign, Bailey said previously that he ran because he became frustrated at the state’s model of tax and spend when the budget was passed with a 32 percent tax increase, no reforms and it still had a $1.2 billion deficit.

Bailey could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday.

The 55th district includes Clay, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 132.

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Kaitlin Cordes covers Effingham County, police and courts and sports features for the Effingham Daily News. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University. Cordes is a native of Effingham.