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Helland ousts Bates

Callahan, board Republicans also find success at polls

Republican Jason Helland is congratulated at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Morris after winning the election for Grundy County State's Attorney.
Republican Jason Helland is congratulated at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Morris after winning the election for Grundy County State's Attorney.

At the county level, Republicans had a very successful night Tuesday in their pursuit of elected office.

The state's attorney and coroner posts, along with a majority of Grundy County Board positions, went to Republicans, who celebrated their wins at the Fraternal Order of Eagles Hall in downtown Morris on election night.

"I can't wait to be on the job and I can't wait to work with local law enforcement," said Jason Helland, newly-elected Grundy County State's Attorney, to the crowd at the Eagles hall.

Helland, R-Mazon, won the race against current State's Attorney John Bates, D-Morris, by 2,088 votes, according to the unofficial results from the Grundy County Clerk's office.

Bates, who could not be reached for comment before press time, was appointed in 2011 to the position when former State's Attorney Sheldon Sobol became Grundy County's new judge. Bates won the Democratic nomination by defeating Dave Neal, former state's attorney, in the March primary.

Helland said he was excited for the win and couldn't wait to be sworn in. This has been his career goal, he said. He felt his win was not a surprise because he has been working hard to meet the residents of Grundy County.

"I went to 10,000 homes in the community in the last year," he said.

Helland said in a previous Morris Daily Herald article that his priorities include getting a Veterans Court System started and active in Grundy County, and restoring confidence and integrity in the office.

Helland currently is a prosecutor for the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office.


Coroner John Callahan, R-Marseilles, retained his position against opponent Phyliss Dralle, D-Morris, by 5,215 votes, according to the unofficial results.

"I love my job . . . it was tough this last week when an opponent chooses to say negative things," said Callahan to the candidates and supporters at the Eagles hall.

"There is not a thing in my office that I am ashamed of," he continued, adding that he runs his office openly and honestly.

Dralle accused Callahan in previous reports of working as coroner with a conflict of interest because he also works for U.C. Davis & Sons Funeral Home.

Callahan has held the coroner position for 14 years and has worked in the Grundy office for 17 years. Dralle has worked in both Will and Grundy counties as a deputy coroner.


In the wake of Tuesday's election, the Grundy County Board will remain in Republican control, with 13 of the 18 members elected Tuesday belonging to the GOP. Despite the Republican's ultimate success, the only incumbent to lose his seat during the election was Robert "Tom" Poole.

Poole was a Democratic incumbent in District 3. He lost by 32 votes, according to the unofficial results.

"I think the Republican party is just getting started," said Board Chairman Ron Severson to the crowd at the Eagles hall.

In District 1, incumbent Ken Iverson was the only Democrat to be elected. Incumbent Republicans John Roth, David Welter, Millie Dyer and John Almer also retained their seats. The newest member from the district is Vicki Geiger.

Unsuccessful in their bids for election in the district were newcomers Erik C. Olson, Marcia Wolter, Thomas Haas Jr., and Curt Mercadante.

District 2 went all Republican, with incumbents Chris Balkema, Ron Severson, John Galloway and Eric Rasmusson keeping their seats, and Debra Warning and Teryl Lundeen winning the remaining two seats.

Failing to win election were Democrats Michael Clemmons, Yolanda Wilhelm, Rudy Martin Jr., Michael Hazel and Warren Kronberger.

District 3 has two new faces, Democrat James Ryan and Republican Harold Vota. Incumbent Democrats Richard Joyce, Ann Gill and Frank Halpin, along with incumbent Republican Dave Boggs, kept their seats.

In addition to Poole, those falling short Tuesday were Timothy J. Bradley, a Democrat, and Clark D. Barkley, a Republican.

Every seat of the Grundy County Board was up for election due to the 2010 Census, so the succesful candidates will draw for either two- or four-year terms when they are seated in December.

"I just thought this night was great, unbelievable," said Severson.

Election Central 2012
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