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Champaign expects several contested races

A township race features 9 candidates for 2 seats.

Voters in Champaign County can expect to decide several hotly contested races, including open seats for Urbana City Council.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates and issues to be filed for the November election, and many local races this fall will be closely contested.

Among them, eight candidates will seek four available seats on the North Lewisburg City Council, while nine candidates will compete for two open seats as a Mad River Twp. trustee.

Races in Urbana will be competitive in November as well. Richard C. Kerns, a Democrat, will challenge Republicans Tony Pena and Douglas Hoffman for a council-at-large seat. Only two of the three candidates will win the seat.

Kerns has been a lifelong Urbana resident, has been active in the Democratic Party and worked at the former Fox River Paper Co. for more than 40 years before retiring. In the past, he has run for a seat on the city’s 3rd ward and as a county commissioner, but was unsuccessful.

Hoffman, the incumbent, was initially appointed in 2012 and has said previously that his experience on the council has helped him to better understand how city government works. Pena, a youth and children’s pastor at the River Center of Life Christian Center in Urbana, is running for council for the first time. Along with working to repair the city’s aging infrastructure, Pena has said council members should work to make sure there are opportunities for younger residents to work and stay in Urbana.

A second at-large seat on the city council was left open when Larry Lokai, a former council member, decided to retire. According to information from the Champaign County Board of Elections, Patrick Thackery, a local business owner, will run against Anthony Ehresmann, Richard McCain and Amy White for the seat. White was appointed by the city council to fill the seat earlier this year. Only one of the four candidates will win the seat.

In other council races, Eugene Fields will run unopposed for the city’s first ward, while Dwight Paul will run unopposed in the third ward. Gil. S. Weithman will run unopposed for a seat as the county municipal judge.

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