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Election spotlight: Champaign County Executive

Steve Summers (left) and Ted Myhre (right) are the two candidates for Champaign County Executive in the 2022 midterm elections.

Note: Official results for this race have not been posted yet. Stay tuned for updates.

Race update: Wednesday, 12:20 a.m. 

Incomplete results of early voting, mail-in and election day ballots at the time of update show that Democrat Steve Summers is ahead with 31,349 votes. Republican Ted Myhre has 26, 522 votes.

Race update: Tuesday, 11:45 pm.

Incomplete results of early voting, mail-in and election day ballots at the time of update show that Democrat Steve Summers is ahead with 30,969 votes. Republican Ted Myhre has 25,550 votes.

Race update: Tuesday, 11:00 p.m.

Incomplete results of early voting, mail-in and election day ballots at the time of update show that Democrat Steve Summers is ahead with 27,275 votes. Republican Ted Myhre has 23,181 votes.

These results are not official, nor have all ballots been counted at this time. Please continue to check this article for more information. 

Post-election day comments

Based on unofficial results released from the Champaign County Clerk’s Office, Democrat Steve Summers will be the next County Executive, defeating Republican candidate Ted Myhre.

As of early Tuesday morning, Summers secured 54.17% of votes over Myhre with 45.83% of votes.

On his win, Summers said he’s grateful to those who voted for him and will do his best to improve the position of County Executive.

Reiterating his campaign goals, Summers said his first priority will be to establish a human resources position for Champaign County employees.

“We need to be able to provide our employees with the support that they need to do their jobs,” he said. “So I’ll be hopefully working with the county board to try and get that hire made.”

Overall, Summers said he’s excited for this new position as County Executive.

“I look forward to serving the people of Champaign County and working with the County Board,” Summers said.

Myhre said that with any campaign, every politician feels that they could have done a bit more. Myhre also congratulated Summers shortly after some of the unofficial results were released.

“I wish (Summers) the best success because if he succeeds that just makes our county that much better,” Myhre said.

As for the future, Myhre said he would consider running for office again if the opportunity arises. 

Background information, discussion 

Champaign County voters will be deciding on the second-ever Champaign County Executive this midterm election. Democrat Steve Summers and Republican Ted Myhre are the only candidates for County Executive.

In the 2016 election, Champaign County voters approved a new position to supervise all county activities that don’t fall under the responsibility of another county official. Democrat Darlene Kloeppel is the outgoing County Executive, elected in 2018. 

The position has been a source of debate since its creation, with confusion over how the County Executive works with the County Board. 

The County Board and Kloeppel have disagreed on issues from redistricting of board seats to appointments, the latter of which went to the Illinois Supreme Court last month. 

Myhre is the current village president of Sadorus, located in Champaign County. He served in the U.S. Army and also in the Champaign unit of the Illinois National Guard. His work experience includes technology services at the University and in the corporate sector. He studied business administration at Pensacola Christian College in Florida.

“In general, setting priorities is going to be a number one thing. I think our current financial status as a county — we’ve got our priorities out of whack,” Myhre said on Election Day. “So my priority is to set priorities.”

Myhre is optimistic about the future of the position but admits that the role might not be viable if it causes more problems than it solves. He hopes to overcome partisan disagreement and bring people together to solve problems. 

“I do want to solve some of the issues that our county has in the next four years,” Myhre said. “But it would be totally OK with me if we were to have a different form of government. If this isn’t really working for everybody, then we do need to find a solution.”

Summers, the Democratic candidate, grew up in Urbana and served on the Urbana Board of Education for 16 years. He is currently the vice chair of the Champaign County Board. 

When Summers announced his candidacy, he said his platform is based on improving the many vital services that the county government provides to citizens.

In a forum between the two candidates last month, Summers said his first priority would be to establish a human resources position for the county to support county employees. He would also like to expand jails and continue work on the county plaza project. 

As a county board member, Summers said he has a working relationship within the board and with board members across the aisle, which he said makes him qualified to be County Executive.

“I believe (the County Board) looks at me as a person that they can trust and collaborate with and I look forward to being able to collaborate with them in the future,” Summers said.

Summers said if elected, he will work to improve the relationship between this new position and the Champaign County Board.

“I think for this relationship to work, well, Board and Executive need to be able to work together,” Summers said at the Champaign County Democrats office on Election Day. “And that just did not take place much over the last four years, which is unfortunate.”

The County Executive position was created in 2016, with the first elected official assuming office in 2018. The outgoing County Executive is Darlene Kloeppel, a Democrat.

Summers said that because no polling takes place for County Executive, the final results “will be a mystery for both sides.”

Myhre, the Republican candidate, said that he knocked on doors and reached last-minute voters on Election Day. 

Because of long lines at polling stations, partly due to the cyberattack on the County Clerk’s online servers, Myhre notes that promoting early voting could be a good solution for the future.

“We would love to help people get out there as soon as possible to vote and vote for the candidate that they choose,” Myhre said. “I would promote that if I had the opportunity to and (introduce) more polling locations.”

Background information and discussion last updated Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 9:28 p.m.

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