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Former Dixon Mayor Li Arellano wins Republican nomination for 37th State Senate seat

Li Arellano, far right, defeated Chris Bishop, left, and Tim Yager, center, in Tuesday's primary election for the 37th Illinois Senate District seat.

Former Dixon mayor Li Arellano has won the Republican primary for the 37th State Senate seat.

The Associated Press called the race at 10:04 p.m. Tuesday with 82% of votes counted. Arellano was leading with 51.8% of the vote.

Arellano served two terms as the mayor of Dixon and is a small business owner. He ran on a platform of pushing ethics reform in state government and creating a plan to pay down debt and pension obligations.

He said he intends to spend the next couple months meeting with people in the 37th district, particularly in the southern part.

"The fact is, I need to be the senator for all of them for those who chose not to vote at all, for those who choose to vote, but they're a different party," he told WCBU Tuesday night. "At the end of the day, once you take the oath, you are representing everybody and listening to everybody, and that is what I intend to do."

There are no Democrats running for the seat, meaning Arellano will run unopposed in the November general election. He said he's not taking that for granted.

"If that stays the case, it gives me time to really get up to speed on the issues, and start learning some of the things I'll need," he said. "So I can hit the ground running in January as fast as possible, and be best prepared to do the job and do the job from day one."

He said he believes his time as mayor has helped prepare him for the role, but understand there is a learning curve.

There were three Republican candidates running for the seat currently held by state Sen. Win Stoller, who is retiring.

Chris Bishop is a former teacher who now works in agriculture and a member of the Dixon City Council.

Tim Yager is a farmer and former business owner. Tim Yager is a farmer and former small business owner. He is a Henry County Board member and is a Henry County Farm Bureau board member.

The three candidates all held similar views on hot topic issues such as immigration, gun rights and public safety. They all live in the northern part of the district that stretches from Germantown Hills and Dunlap all the way up to Dixon and Rochelle.

"[The race] was hard fought by all of us. [District 37] is part of 12 counties," Arellano said. "So all of us put in a lot of work."

The general election is Nov. 5.

Camryn Cutinello is a reporter and digital content director at WCBU. You can reach Camryn at cncutin@illinoisstate.edu.