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Update On 101st District Race And St. Patrick's Day Parade In Decatur Saturday  


Catching Up In 101st District Race Between Dan Caulkins, Todd Henricks and Randy Keith

One week before Tuesday’s election on March 20, Dan Caulkins contributed $20,000 to his own campaign, as reported to the Illinois State Board of Elections.  On the same day, he also received $1,000 from Bodine Electric in Decatur.  The Illinois Opportunity Project    in Chicago also donated $1,750 to his campaign on March 6 for consulting services.
    Friends of Randy Keith received another $25,000 from Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC on March 9.  That’s $50,000 that the Keith campaign has received from that PAC.  Keith also picked up another $2,500 from Central Illinois Manufacturing Company in Bement, on March 12.  In addition, Keith picked up $20,800 for mailers from IPACE in Springfield on March 7.
    Todd Henricks, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, picked up no additional $1,000+ contributions during March.  
    Actually, Henricks probably received great benefit from the hatchet job that Chicago Super PAC, INCS Action Independent Committee, did on him with vicious mailers that arrived at my home three days-in-a-row this week.
    Both Caulkins and Keith, as mentioned in a previous article, have denied any connection with the mailer, but it certainly angered a lot of people with its hit on Henricks.
    I talked with Caulkins just before the start of today’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Decatur and he told me that he tells anyone who mentions the mailer that it is “garbage” and should be ripped up and thrown away.
    Caulkins also made the same statement to Henricks as the three of us talked before the start of the parade.
    I didn’t get a chance to talk to Randy Keith before the parade started, but he had a huge elephant (not a real one) and he was sitting in the seat of a fishing boat as his float for the parade continued the “everyman” theme of his campaign.

   I enjoyed talking to several of the candidates and their supporters before the parade started.
    Even though there was a prediction of thunderstorms during this morning (Saturday) it was overcast and the rain held off until the parade was nearly over -- when some slight mist began to fall.
    Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe and Councilmen Pat McDaniel and David Horn constituted the City of Decatur contingent in the parade.

Update On Early Voting From Macon County Clerk Steve Bean

​Macon County has seen for the second time in Early Voting primary history more than 2,000 votes cast by Friday at 2:20 pm. Already in the three tabulators are 2,000 Early and Grace period votes and the votes from two nursing homes.
    Both Saturday and Sunday the Macon County Clerk's office will be open 9 am to 4 pm.  Monday office hours will be 8:30 am to 7 pm.
    On Monday teams of election judges will continues to vote nursing homes.
    On Tuesday a team of election judges will process the mail in absentee ballots at 3 pm.
    Tuesday the polling locations will be open from 6 am to 7 pm. 
Under Grace Period Voting you can register to vote and vote until 7 pm on election day.
    More information call 424-1333 or visit the county website: for polling place location, specimen ballots, and other information.
    Election results can be found at or linking from the county webpage.

Will Super PAC’s Huge Financial Involvement Be Deciding Factor
In Republican Showdown In 101st

District Race? 

        The Republican Primary Election showdown is almost here!
    Tuesday evening, March 20, voters in the 101st District,will have their votes tabulated and one of three candidates seeking the right to move on and face Democrat Jen McMillin of Decatur in November’s General Election, will claim victory.
    For the first time in 20 years, Rep. Bill Mitchell is not running for election, or re-election, and there will be someone new representing the 101st District.
    The three Republican candidates involved in Tuesday’s showdown are Dan Caulkins of Decatur, Todd Henrichs of Cerro Gordo and Randy Keith of Monticello.
    There is no doubt, from the feedback I’ve received, that the $200,000-plus that Chicago-based Liberty Principles PAC pumped into Caulkins’ campaign has generated the most comments -- and many of those comments that I have heard dislike that huge amount of money from, “the outside” impacting on the 101st District Primary.          

   Last week, I wrote about Caulkins’ ans-wers when I asked him about the campaign windfall, so there is no point in rehashing that story again. 
    I sat down and talked with all three Republican candidates  (I’ll talk with Jen McMillin as we head for the general election) and here’s some observations on the primary race with the election less than a week away.  
    All three candidates have taken their campaigns very seriously (which sometimes doesn’t happen) and have been working hard to get elected, regardless of the money issue.
    Caulkins, who served on the Decatur City Council during some of the years that I served as mayor, has been an active member of the community for a long time.
    He lost his re-election bid and I will admit, I probably passed a few kidney stones with Dan’s name on them when we worked together on council.
    However, I never felt his actions, contrary to what we were doing on council, were personally directed towards me.
    In our meeting in my office a few weeks ago to talk about his candidacy, I told Caulkins that I had always liked him, and still do, but he about drove me crazy when I was mayor!            
    But, that was then, and this is now. I don’t hold any hard feelings towards Dan or anyone else I know.

• CAULKINS told me he has “mellowed” since those days.  I don’t think he has.  Some people tell me that they are going to vote for Dan so that he can go to Springfield and drive Mike Madigan crazy, referring to some of his actions during his council years!
    I’ll have to admit my biggest concern with Dan is not any history we’ve had from the council days, but the $200,000+ the Chicago Super PAC injected into his campaign.
    If a labor group, or a Chicago Democratic machine had pumped $200,000-plus into a candidate in a Democratic Primary Election that had three candidates in the 101st District, Republicans and conservatives would be screaming that Chicago was trying to buy the election!
    The question I keep asking myself is whether that PAC money is a blessing or curse to Caulkins.    There's a lot of small towns in the 101st District, where huge “outside the district” donations are not well-received -- and that’s also true in some of the parts of Decatur that are in the 101st District.
    A strength of Caulkins’ campaign is a pledge to not accept a salary, pension or any other benefits afforded those who win that office.
    That pledge attracted a lot of positive attention -- until it was replaced somewhat by the Super PAC money story.
• RANDY KEITH, who is chairman of the Piatt County Board,  has not been letting any grass grow under his feet in his campaign and he has by far picked up more contributions since the first of the year than either of his two opponents.
    Although, at the end of the last reporting period on Dec. 31, Keith had $8,686.12 available, since the first of the year he has picked up over $80,000 in $1,000+ contributions and services.
    Keith also scored a huge endorsement victory  this week from former popular Illinois Governor Jim Edgar.
    Although the Chicago Tribune endorsed Dan Caulkins for the office, Edgar’s endorsement is huge for Keith’s campaign.
    Keith’s advertising has also been aggressive without mentioning names, but his last mailer referred to electing someone who is not under the influence of Chicago politicians. (Ouch!)
    Although Caulkins, through Liberty Principles PAC was able to flood the airwaves and social media with advertising for months, Keith’s strategy was to focus on a shorter time period before the election as a way to use less dollars more effectively.
    There are a lot of small towns in the 101st District and Keith’s strength will come from those areas -- plus his advertising campaign the past few weeks has been effective.
    Keith has been focusing a lot of his energy and time in recent weeks on Decatur and Macon County where he knows Caulkins is better known.
 • TODD HENRICKS, of Cerro Gordo, the third candidate in this race, has been active in his community for many years, has raised a respectable amount of money for his campaign, although it is not nearly as much as his two opponents.
    Henricks is president of Chapman-Henricks Insurance Agency, Inc., in Cerro Gordo and president of the Cerro Gordo Community Unit School District Board of Education..  He has been active (33 years) in volunteer coaching and has an impressive record of service to his community and Independent Insurance Agents of Metro Decatur and Illinois. 
    I think a key factor in his candidacy, is that he has been to a lot of the schools and communities in the district because of his education involvement and business activities over the years.
    A lot of people know him because of his contact with their families for many years.     
    Funds available to Henricks at the close of the last reporting period on Dec. 31, 2017, totalled $10,725.66.
    He has received an additional $8,000 in $1,000 or more contributions since the first of the year.
    Henricks is also doing a lot of door-to-door campaigning.  He told me that the number one item that people mention when he meets them at their door is the Chicago PAC money Caulkins has received.
    He said he has received more and more recognition going door-to-door due to the advertising he has been able to do.
    In order for Henricks to win on Tuesday, he will have to overcome the advertising spending gap between his funds and those of his two opponents.
    Besides the impact of the PAC money, another unknown in this race is how many people have been contacted in person by each candidate.
    I’ve seen candidates for office in the past get elected despite their opponents having a lot more in funds.

    (After the print edition went to press, I received a vicious "hit piece"  on Henricks from another Chicago Super PAC called the INCS Action Independent Committee which labeled Henricks as a "career politician".  I guess I wouldn't call 30 years of volunteer service to his community and serving on the school board what constitutes a "career politician".  That's one of the most repulsive mailers I've ever seen and I'm really sick of the way these SuperPacs have injected themselves into the 101st race.  Another hit piece on Henricks arrived at my home today.  Henricks contacted me earlier today and sent the letter in the column at left to respond to the attacks.)
    By the way, Democrat Jen McMillin, the candidate the Republican winner will face, reported funds available on her D-2 at the end of the year of  $595. 
    She will really have to ramp up contributions as we head for the general election.

 • THE RACE FOR Macon County Sheriff has been a tough one to gauge because all three candidates (including Republican Jim Root who is unopposed in the primary) have a lot of experience in working in the sheriff’s office.
    Antonio Brown and Jon Butts are running in the Democratic Primary to determine who will move on to face Jim Root in the general election.
    There is no incumbent running for sheriff, so there will be a new sheriff in town following the November election.
    Present sheriff Howard Buffett was appointed on an interim basis until a new sheriff is elected.
    Buffett is not running for the office.
    When Brown filed his D-2 Quarterly Report following the last quarter of 2017, he had $19,185.62 available. 
    Butts, in filing his D-2 Quarterly for the same period showed he had funds available at the close of the reporting period of $4,109.92
    On March 1, Mary Ann Koucky, contributed an additional $1,000 to Butts’ campaign.
    This race has been very low-key and it is apparent in candidate forums there is no nastiness displayed attesting to the positive traits of the candidates.
    The one big problem each candidate has is using his experience in the sheriff’s office to separate himself from his opponent, because all have experience in the sheriff’s office.
    That experience would be highlighted much more if one of the candidates had no experience in the sheriff’s office.
    The citizens of Macon County are blessed to have three excellent candidates to select from as sheriff.
    After Tuesday’s primary, the number will be reduced to two, with Republican Jim Root facing either Brown or Butts in November.

 • AS I MENTIONED a few weeks ago, I am concentrating on the primary election of a few local races and talking to candidates who have to make it through Tuesday’s balloting before they can move on to face the ultimate opponent of the opposite party in November.
     Two of those three local races (including the sheriff’s race) do not have an incumbent running this year -- and that’s especially interesting in the Macon County Clerk’s office, where Steve Bean is retiring. 
    I have mentioned in past editions that Laurence Tangney, Bill Tangney and Bean have presided over that office for the past 80 years.    
    R. C. Smith called me the other day to tell me that, while the Tangneys and Bean have been the only “elected” county clerks during that time period, Republican Darrell Foster was “appointed” to the office by a Republican county board to take the reins when Laurence Tangney died in office.
    R. C. told me the Democrats wanted to appoint Laurence Tangney’s wife, but the Republicans controlled the board and that’s the reason that a Republican served for a few years.    
    When Foster sought to be elected to the office at the next election, Bill Tangney won.
    With Bean’s retirement there will be someone new as the county clerk and, considering a Republican has not won election to the position in over 80 years,  the winner of Tuesday’s Josh Tanner and Samantha Murray  Republican Primary will have their campaign work cut out for them. 
    After next Tuesday, the winner will face Democrat Amy Rueff in November’s General Election. Rueff has no opponent in the primary.
    Murray has won the fundraising battle with her last D-2 Quarterly Report showing $3,063.46 in funds available. 
    Since the first of the year, she also picked up another $3,000 in a contribution from her husband, Hubert Murray.
    Murray studied communication and sociology at the University of Illinois, graduating in 2014. Her previous work consisted in interning and working for multiple organizations, which include County Clerk of Champaign County, Tate & Lyle, and being a legal assistant for a local law firm.
    Tanner reported a little over $1,000 in funds available when he filed his D-1 Statement of Organization with the Illinois State Board of Elections on Feb. 16.
    Tanner is a super-nice guy, presently Macon County Super-visor of Assessments, and is well-qualified for the office.  
    Murray’s campaign has been more aggressive, not only in money raised, but in the support she has received from other officeholders like former State Senator Duane Noland, who voiced her commercials, Congressman Rodney Davis and Helen Albert, long-time political ally who wrote a letter to the editor in support of Murray.
    Murray also received the endorsement of the county clerks of Champaign and Sangamon counties.
    Although both candidates have solid qualifications, it appears that Murray has the edge in the Republican battle in next Tuesday’s election but, of course, the only edge that counts is after the votes are counted. 
    When Democrat Amy Rueff filed her most recent D-2 Quarterly, she had funds available of $10,578.04.
    Rueff also has strong Democratic support and will pose a real challenge for whichever candidate wins the Republican Primary.

 • ED YODER is the Repub-lican incumbent in the Macon County Treasurer’s office, but following the Democratic Primary, he will be challenged by either April Kostenski or Shavon Francis.
    Yoder had no opponent in the primary and has been a strong general election candidate in the past.
    Kostenski is running a very strong campaign and her last D-2 Quarterly Report showed she had  funds available of $9,611.18 at that time.
    The list of contributors to her campaign reads like a who’s who in Democrat and Labor circles, including Sen. Andy Manar, Julie Curry, Macon County Democratic Committee, Illinois AFL-CIO, Decatur Building and Construction Trades Council and about every labor organization in the area.
    Kostenski received her Bachelors degree in Business and Information Technology from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
    She is currently the Financial Administrator for Dr. Stuart Baker where she has worked for the last 11 years. 
    Francis is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in accounting. Currently she is an accountant at ADM by day and a financial coach by night. 
    “My passion for financial literacy is the driving factor for why I want to run for office,” Francis related to me. “My mission in life is to reverse the generational curse of poverty and stop the normalization of debt. If elected, I will use my knowledge and skill to minimize the number of delinquent property taxes and educate home owners how to save effectively in hopes to prevent negligence.”
    Probably, the biggest drawback for Francis is a present lack of overall name recognition throughout the county.
    An apparent lack of contributions has hampered getting her name and message out.
    April Kostenski has built a solid advertising campaign and rounded up the support she needs to be the winner of the primary and move on to face Ed Yoder in the general election.  She certainly has been more aggressive in her advertising and interview campaign, and has work experience that will help her in the general election campaign. 
    Plus, all of that well-known Democratic support she has garnered is a real plus for her candidacy in a Democratic Primary Election.

• MACON County Clerk Steve Bean reported that, as of the first of the week, 1,387 Early and Grace Period voters have cast their ballots in the clerk’s office.
    He also said 355 voters have requested absentee ballots by mail or nursing homes.
    The breakdown of the ballots cast and requests:
    Democrats 1,124
    Republicans 617
    Bean noted that the county has seen a trend toward voters using Early, Grace Period, and Absentee voting prior to election day.
    In a partisan primary election about 9 to 11% of voters cast their ballots by other means than the polling place on election day.
    The Macon County clerk’s Office is open for voting from 8:30 am to 7 pm Tuesday through Friday this week and Monday next week.
    This coming weekend the office will be open Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 4 pm.
    If you have any questions, call 424-1333 or visit the website at
    Remember you can get election night results at the county’s new site at             

    Best wishes to all of the candidates in Tuesday’s election.
    Hopefully, there will be great weather and great turnout!

Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on WSOY’s Byers & Co., Thursdays at 7:00 a.m. Visit our website at or 


​​Central Park Fountain in Downtown Decatur



Paul Osborne's






    The polling places will be open from 6 am to 7 pm on Tuesday.
    For questions about voting or election day, call 424-1333 or
    Election results will be at

Osborne Online

Bumper Stickers, Pins, Yard Signs

And Notes 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today that 178 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from her office will be monitoring primary elections throughout Illinois on Tuesday, March 20, to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible.
     Madigan urged voters to call her office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity.
     Chicago voters can call 1-866-536-3496 (TTY 1-800-964-3013).
    Downstate voters can call 1-866-559-6812 (TTY 1-877-844-5461).
    Attorney General Madigan reminded voters of some of their basic voting rights:
    Voters have the right to vote if they are in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. or at any other time between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day (10 ILCS 5/17-1).
    If a voter makes a mistake or “spoils” a paper ballot and the voter has not cast the ballot, the voter has the right to receive a replacement ballot (10 ILCS 5/17-11).
    If a voter cannot read, has trouble understanding English, or has a disability, that voter has the right to request assistance from anyone other than his or her employer, an agent of his or her employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union (10 ILCS 5/17-14).
    Voters have the right to take unpaid time from work to vote, but no more than two successive hours, as long as they have applied with their employer before Election Day. The employer may set the time of day (10 ILCS 5/17-15).
    No one is allowed to try to influence a voter within 100 feet of the polling place (10 ILCS 5/17-29). 

Dan Caulkins, Randy Keith Say They Have No  Involvement In the Vicious Attack Mailers Against Todd Henricks

By Paul Osborne, Editor

In an email to the Decatur Tribune last night, 101st District Candidate Dan Caulkins said he had no involvement in the vicious mailer against opponent Todd Henricks that has arrived at district homes for the third day in a row.

During this morning's City Hall Insider hour on WSOY's Byers & Co. show, candidate Randy Keith, the third candidate in the Republican Primary Election, called in to inform us that he also had no involvement in the  Henricks emailed.

Both candidates deplored the attack against Henricks.

The mailer against Henricks came from another Chicago Super PAC, INCS Action Independent Committee, that is involving inself in this race. 

101st District Republican Candidate Todd Henricks Responds To Vicious Attack Mailers By A Chicago Super PAC

Letter From Todd Henricks:

    "Well, if you received a postcard from another Chicago based PAC today you may think that I am a tax and spend liberal. That could not be further from the truth. Yes, I am a member of the Cerro Gordo Community Unit School District Board of Education and have been since 1997. Most people know this is a voluntary position that receives NO compensation or pay of any type. And yes, I did support our school district's effort to pass a building referendum last year to build an addition to our high school to enhance our school security by adding a secure single entrance to our high school campus. In addition we are also improving our library, adding two classrooms, a STEM lab, a state of art auditorium, and a new Junior High gymnasium. Obviously I did not push through a property tax increase in order to increase local government debt. The voters of the school district voted to improve and enhance our high school campus. 
   "If the State of Illinois would fund school districts statewide the way they are supposed to in the State Constitution, local school districts wouldn't have to rely on property taxes in order to fund their school. Until that day comes, I am opposed to freezing property taxes as a way to fund local governments. Let the people speak when property tax referendums are placed on a ballot. 
   "Chicago PAC's it is time for you to stay out of our 101st District and let the folks of the 101st decide on our own. Chicago does not control us and never will as long as I have a voice."

(See column at right for additional information on the 101st District Republican Primary Election.)

The People Speak In 'Letters To The Editor'

Mac on Sports
Lett Millikin's New Women's Coach

By J Thomas McNamara

 Olivia Lett has been named the new women's basketball coach at Millikin, Athletic Directort Dr. Craig White announced this afternoon (Monday, March 12).  
   Lett becomes the third women's coach in Millikin's history and succeeds Lori Kerans, who retired recently after 32 years as the lady Big Blue head coach.  For the last two seasons she has served as the top assistant women's basketball at the University of Chicago.  Prior to coaching there, she spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois Wesleyan University where she starred for three seasons leading the lady Titans to the 2012 Division III women's national championship.  Her name should be familiar to many prep basketball fans around Central Illinois since was a prep standout at Pana High School where she scored 2,439 points and led her team to the sectional finals three times.  
   "The experience Olivia has gained being a vital part of winning collegiate programs will serve her well as Millikin's new head coach," said AD White.  "She has the knowledge, energy and competitive nature to be a great head coach and we are excited that is bringing those qualities to the Big Blue women's basketball program."  
   Lett said, "I am extremely excited to be returning to Central Illinois to be the head women's basketball coach at Millikin.  I want to thank President Patrick White, Dr. Craig White and the search committee for this opportunity.
   "Millikin University athletics is a special community with rich history.  I am looking forward to building on the extraordinary foundation laid by Coach Kerans.  I hope to bring an exciting style of basketball to Griswold Center by emphasizing hard work, toughness and fundamentals.  I am excited to begin the next chapter of Big Blue women's basketball.  I can't wait to get started."  
   I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

Community Foundation Of Macon County Offers Scholarship Opportunities To High School Seniors In Macon County 
    The Community Foundation of Macon County offers scholarship opportunities to high school seniors in Macon County who have been accepted at an accredited college or university. In addition, current college students should apply.
    In 2017, over $70,000 was awarded to students in Macon County. This year, scholarships range from $250 to $6,000, with some that are renewable for up to four consecutive years. 
    A single online application covers any or all of the scholarships. Awards are made on a competitive basis, considering both academic and non-academic factors. Some scholarships are for students in specific areas identified by our donors, including certain high schools, or particular academic and career interests.
    The online application and information about specific scholarships can be found on our website at  The application deadline is Saturday, March 31, 2018. 
    For more information about The Community Foundation’s scholarship program, contact Kathy Carter, Scholarship Coordinator, at (217) 220-1363, (217) 429-3000, or  

The People Speak In 'Letters To The Editor'

Important Warning From the Decatur Police Department

The Decatur Police Department at 707 W. South Side Dr., is releasing the following information to raise awareness of scams. 

There are suspicious individuals, usually international suspects, calling victims and stating they are the police and if the victim doesn’t pay for alleged warrants or citations that the victim will be arrested.  The suspicious individuals then tell the victim to send money via Green Dot, Money Pak, ITunes or other types of cards.  

The Decatur Police Department does not call individuals and tell them that in order to avoid arrest, they need to send payment.  If someone calls you claiming to be the police and threatens to arrest you unless you pay them money, please hang up.  And most importantly, do not send them money.  

The Decatur Police Department takes pride in its service and dedication to protecting the public and urges all citizens to be aware of scams.   

The Weather Channel​