State Rep. Harms Stepping Down, GOP Chairs Seeking Replacement On Ballot


State Rep. Josh Harms (R-Watseka) is removing his name from the fall ballot, citing family concerns.  The 1-term lawmaker from the 106th District will return to teaching this fall.

He’s taken a position with the Ford-Iroquois Special Education Co-op, saying it’s been tough juggling the home life with that in Springfield.

“My kids have been asking me a lot not go back," he said.  "I kind of started looking (for a teaching job), and when my daughter cries when I start leaving, it’s something I don’t want to do.”

Harms won a five-way primary for the 106th District in 2012, a region created through districting, making up all of Iroquois and Ford Counties, along with portions of Livingston, Vermilion, and Woodford counties.

The five county Republican chairs that make up the 106th district have less than two months to name Harms’ successor on the ballot.   

The Illinois State Board of Elections said the GOP has until August 21st to submit a new candidate.   As of Wednesday, the board has yet to receive paperwork from Harms removing himself from the November ballot.

Harms didn’t have any specific names to endorse now, but former legislator Shane Cultra could be one possibility.

The Republican from Onarga and Iroquois County GOP Chair said he and other party chairs making up the district hold their first meeting this weekend.

“I’m taking a look at it, and until I get all the facts, I’m really not going to make a commitment either way, but I’m interested," he said.  Cultra served 10 years combined in the Illinois House and Senate.

The new candidate for the 106th District will face Democrat William Nutter, a Watseka City Council member.

Harms said serving in the legislature has been a tremendous experience, having made friends on both sides of the aisle.

"This whole that Democrats and Republicans hate each other is just silly," he said.  "There are things you can work together on.  I would say 80-percent of what we vote on comes out of there unanimously.  But that's not the stuff that people buy newspapers (for.)"

Harms will serve out the remainder of his term this fall.

Story source: WILL