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Republican Brown Defeats Incumbent Flider in 101st District House Race

Voters in Illinois' 101st House District will have a new state representative in January. Adam Brown (R-Decatur) narrowly defeated incumbent Bob Flider (D-Mt. Zion) in Tuesday's general election with 51 percent of the votes.

The rancorous and expensive race left both parties pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaigns. Flider, who has held the seat for four terms, said like many candidates across the country, he was swept away by anti-incumbent fever.

"You know, the combination of throw them out mentality, combined with the high Republican turnout," Flider said. "I think that was very difficult to overcome."

Betty Hughes of Decatur said her vote against Flider was a vote for change in Springfield and Washington. She said she hopes voter cynicism towards incumbents will have a ripple effect on the legislative process.

"I think the state of Illinois needs to clean their house," Hughes said. "I hope we're sending a message to the federal government and the state government that we need a change."

Hughes explained that the federal government should do more to stem the nation's unemployment rate, and re-examine the cost of the federal health care law.

The change many voters were calling for this election year translated into a lot of negative advertising in the 101st House District race, which could be seen all over Central Illinois. Decatur trial lawyer William Faber, who supported Flider, said this sort of mudslinging is typical with any campaign. However, Faber said there should have been strict limits on the amount of negative advertisements coming from both campaigns. He feared voters were swayed by the rhetoric, and missed out on important issues.

"The politicians are unwilling to put limits on things in terms of time and money," he said. "The people complain, but don't put any pressure on the politicians to change things."

For Brown, who currently sits on the Decatur City Council, the victory was bittersweet. He has portrayed himself as a new fresh face who will distance himself from the tight grip of Chicago politics. Still, the 25-year-old Republican faces yet another challenge --- getting his voice heard a state legislature that continues to be controlled by a Democratic majority.

"You know, we got to stand up to Mike Madigan," Brown said. "I don't believe Central Illinois values align with the Chicago machine's values, so it's going to be a tough process."

Decatur is a manufacturing town that has been plagued with job losses from the Firestone plant closing to the recent decision by the Tate and Lyle company to move jobs out of Decatur.

Brown said he plans to stand up to Speaker Michael Madigan to push forward his plans to create jobs in Decatur and reform workers' compensation and lawsuit abuse.

Brown is up for re-election is 2012.

(Photos by Sean Powers/WILL)

Categories: Government, Politics