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Dennis Tipsword wins four-way GOP primary in deep-red 105th House District

Dennis Tipsword won Tuesday's Republican primary in the 105th Illinois House District over three other Republican candidates.

As of late Tuesday, the votes stood at:

  • Dennis Tipsword - 39%
  • Kyle Ham - 23%
  • Mike Kirkton - 23%
  • Donald Rients - 15%

The 105th is big and rural. It has parts of nine counties in central Illinois stretching from LaSalle to Pontiac to Bloomington-Normal and west to the Illinois River and East Peoria.

Tipsword said he is happy to emerge from a field of "good conservative candidates."

“From day one, our goal was to work hard and just outwork the rest of the group. And I feel at the end of the day, that's exactly what we did. It's been a long six months, but well worth it here tonight to see to see what we put together,” said Tipsword.

Tipsword said there were only minor differences in the issues espoused and emphasized by the four.

"I felt like I was stronger on small business with my small-business background, owning small businesses, and my law enforcement. And then couple that with the hard work, and I think that's what made the difference,” said Tipsword.

Tipsword, who is also the chief deputy of the Woodford County Sheriff’s Department, said he estimates the district is 75% Republican. No Democrat ran, though one could still be slated for the fall. Tipsword said he doubts the Democratic Party will bother, after drawing the 105th to pack GOP votes and take them from adjoining districts.

Even with the likelihood a fall campaign will be minimal, Tipsword said the expense of running the race across 10 counties was huge.

“It cost us about $90,000. That's a ridiculous amount of money for a House race. Unfortunately, that's what it takes in this big of the district. And I know I wasn't the highest spender. I know Kyle (Ham) outspent us,” said Tipsword.

He said most of his money came from citizens within or next to the district.

“I think that's different than getting your money from politicians. I don't like that. But I do think maybe, if individual contribution limits were lowered, we can take some of the money off the table and maybe not have to spend so much money in races like this. think it's a discussion we should have because it frankly, it is sickening how much money is spent on primary races,” said Tipsword.

Tipsword said he is happy to hear about strong GOP vote totals in other districts and statewide, stimulated by the crowded gubernatorial primary. He said he hopes that energy will persist through November.

“You kind of hear the red wave talk, and I think that's accurate. I think folks are fed up, and they're looking for someone different. The Democrats have run the state for so long. It's time to take a look at the other side and see what the Republicans can do,” said Tipsword.

He said if the GOP is truly to make a difference, it must gain a significant number of seats in the House and Senate.

“If we just change a few names on the seats, but we're still a superminority, we're still irrelevant. We've got to start putting some seats on the board. I'm very hopeful that what comes in November,” said Tipsword.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.