MORRIS – With 5,812 votes, State Rep. John Anthony, R-Plainfield, won the Republican spot in Tuesday’s primary race for representative of the 75th District.
Anthony will now fight to retain his position in the Nov. 4 general election, competing against Democrat Martha Shugart of Morris.
Anthony did not respond Wednesday to multiple attempts to reach him.
Anthony defeated current Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson to win the Republican nomination.
The 75th District includes Grundy, Will, Kendall and LaSalle counties. In Grundy County, Anthony won the race with 2,276 votes versus Severson’s 1,614 votes. District-wide, Anthony had 5,812 votes to Severson’s 3,750.
Anthony was appointed to be the 75th district’s representative in August when previous representative Pam Roth, R-Morris, stepped down.
Anthony has said, prior to the election in an interview with the Morris Daily Herald, that if re-elected he would continue to fight tax increases and work for a change in leadership.
Since joining the General Assembly in August, Anthony has introduced 15 bills, many addressing government corruption and fraud by proposing more political accountability. He’s also introduced two bills dealing with education reform.
He began his career working as a law enforcement officer from 2005 to 2013 – one year as an officer with Champaign police and another eight years as a Kendall County Sheriff’s deputy.
He also worked as a case manager for more than three years at the Safer Foundation, a Chicago-based organization helping former inmates successfully reintegrate into society.
Currently, Anthony and his wife run a community development foundation known as YARN based in Montgomery.
Severson said he called Anthony to congratulate him on the win Wednesday morning and wished him luck in the general election.
Despite losing the race, Severson said he was happy with the number of votes he received when compared to how “little he spent,” on the campaign. The Grundy County Board chairman spent under $10,000 on the race.
“I’m sad to say it takes an enormous amount of money to win,” he said.
Severson began in politics in Kendall County where he served on the Sewer and Township boards. For the past 12 years, he has served on the Grundy County Board. He has been the county board chairman since 2010.
Severson is a farm operator outside of Morris. He said after being the target of negative remarks from the Republican Party during this campaign, he is not sure if can align himself with the Republicans.
“From now on, I will just be a conservative cattle farmer,” he said. “I like that title best.”
After his term as county board chairman is up Nov. 30, Severson said he is done with politics.
“This was the last time you’ll ever see my name on a ballot,” he said.