By MATT HOPFHerald-Whig Staff Writer
The Republican support that Illinois state Senate candidate Randy Frese enjoyed in Quincy and Adams County did not carry over to the race for his replacement as circuit clerk.
Frese, of Paloma, carried 54 of 74 precincts in Adams County, including 30 of 34 outside the Quincy city limits in traditional strong Republican territory, to outpoll incumbent Democrat John Sullivan by more than 3,000 votes Tuesday.
Frese, who is concluding his second term as circuit clerk, was unable to sustain that support outside of his home county, however. Sullivan handily won the other 10 counties in the 47th District to easily win a fourth term by more than 11,000 votes out of slightly more than 89,000 cast.
"We knew this is Randy's home county. We knew we had to keep it close in Adams County, and our plan was to pick it up in the other counties," Sullivan said on election night.
But Frese's coattails did not extend to Republican Laura Kent Donahue in the race for circuit clerk.
Donahue, a former state senator in her first political race in 10 years, collected 2,403 fewer votes than Frese and won only 19 precincts -- including just five of 40 inside the city limits -- in losing to Democratic newcomer Lori Geschwandner.
Geschwandner, who has worked in the office for 18 years, collected 15,883 votes -- only 823 fewer than Frese -- in taking 53 percent of Tuesday's vote. She even won 20 of 34 precincts outside of Quincy, which tend to favor Republicans.
The five Quincy precincts Donahue won were mainly confined to the strong Republican 4th and 5th wards, but one precinct in the Democratic-leaning 7th Ward also supported her.
Even in District 2 for the Adams County Board, where Republican challengers Ryan Niekamp and Becky Weed were able to unseat two Democratic incumbents, voters stuck with Geschwandner, who won nine of those 10 precincts. In the same district, Sullivan won seven of the 10 precincts.
Outside the city, Republicans swept the Senate and circuit clerk races in 13 of the 34 precincts. These precincts also elected all Republican County Board members except for Democrat Matt Obert in District 5.
As expected, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney swamped incumbent President Barack Obama in Adams County, receiving 66 percent of the vote and winning all but 10 precincts -- which all were in the city of Quincy.
Likewise, voters in all 74 precincts supported the nonbinding concealed carry ballot measure. The advisory referendum was approved by 77 percent of voters.
Turnout was slightly down from the 2008 presidential, with 68.23 percent of Adams County voters casting ballots. Four years ago, 69.68 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
The highest turnout was at Quincy Precinct 24 in the 5th Ward, where nearly 82 percent of the 721 voters cast ballots. The lowest turnout was at Quincy Precinct 6 in the 2nd Ward, where 40 percent of 372 voters showed up.