The State Senate seat vacated by A.J. Wilhelmi wasn’t empty for long.
On the same day that Wilhelmi, D-Joliet, officially stepped down from representing the 43rd District, a three-member committee chosen by the Will County Democrats named former Will County Treasurer Pat McGuire to the post.
Wilhelmi resigned from the office to accept a job as the senior vice president for government relations with the Illinois Hospital Association.
Earlier this month, the Will County Democratic Central Committee appointed Ruby Loftus and Dan Maher to serve on a committee with Will County Democrats Chairman Dennis Grosskopf to choose Wilhemi’s replacement.
Grosskopf said the trio unanimously chose McGuire. Eight candidates had submitted letters of interest seeking Wilhelmi’s spot, he said.
McGuire, who served one term as Will County treasurer, is the nephew of State Rep. Jack McGuire, D-Joliet. He left for Springfield Sunday to assume his new role as state senator on Monday, Grosskopf said. McGuire was expected to resign from his current post as clerk for the Village of Braidwood.
While this isn’t the first time the Will County Democrats have had to name a replacement for a legislator, it’s the first time it’s happened while the General Assembly was in session, Grosskopf noted.
“We need 200,000 people to have representation in Springfield,” he said when asked about the speed with which Wilhemi’s replacement was chosen. “[There are] lots of decisions to be made and we needed somebody down there.”
McGuire’s new office doesn’t guarantee he will be the Democrats’ pick for the November 2012 general election.
Because of new legislative boundaries, the 43rd District now extends into DuPage County. That means DuPage County Democratic Chairman Robert Peickert will get a say when it comes to choosing the candidate.
Because Wilhelmi announced his resignation so close to the primary, his name will remain on the March 20 ballot. The former senator will have to write a letter officially rejecting the Democratic party’s nomination.
Then, Peickert and Grosskopf will vote to choose a candidate for the November ballot. Their votes will be weighted, Grosskopf said, depending on which county casts more ballots for Wilhemi.
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Editor's Note: The familial relationship between Pat McGuire and Jack McGuire was incorrectly identified and has been corrected.