By Joe Kaiser -
There will be three candidates vying for the state representative seat in the 117th House District this November, with Democratic incumbent John Bradley facing challenges from both Republican Christopher McCann and Constitution Party candidate Dale Dorch, with the latter questioning the former's return to the ballot.
McCann, the superintendent of Kell Consolidated School District, initially withdrew from the race on January 9, due to objections of his petition signatures. This gave Dorch an opportunity to declare and deny Bradley the chance to run unopposed, while also becoming the first Constitution Party candidate in Illinois to be on a ballot for a state representative race.
However, the potential path to victory got a little more complicated for Dorch on June 11, when McCann’s supporters gathered enough signatures to officially place the Republican back on the ballot.
Dorch believes this was an attempt to prevent him from winning or gaining legitimacy in the race, although it is just speculation.
“After they found out I was serious, then all of a sudden they run McCann,” Dorch said. “I can’t prove [it was because I was serious] but that’s what I think. I don’t honestly really know the whole truth, but it still doesn’t really make sense to me why he would split the conservative vote.”
Neither McCann nor his staff responded to emails for this story and did not leave any phone number on their campaign site. Moreover, McCann’s campaign Facebook page has not been updated since he jumped back into the race.
Even though Dorch feels that McCann and the GOP are trying to stop him from being competitive in this race, he says that his party has been gaining popularity in recent months.
“We are growing,” Dorch said. “Just in the last five, six months we have grown tremendously. People are tired. They are tired of the two party duopoly. I think people are waking up.”
If Dorch is able to gain at least five percent of the vote, the Constitution Party will become an established party within the 117th district. Though he names this as one of his goals, the Herrin resident still says he is ‘in it to win it,’ also acknowledging that those chances are slim.
Bradley, 41, has been in office since he was appointed in June of 2003 and was previously under consideration to become the Democratic nominee to compete against Jason Plummer (R) for the open seat in the 12th Congressional District. He has ran unopposed in two of his four reelection bids thus far.