TISKILWA — If David Turpen wins the March 20 primary election, he’ll face a greater problem at the Nov. 6 general election.
Although as of now, Turpen would face no Democratic challenger for the District 7 seat on the Bureau County Board, there’s more to the story. Turpen couldn’t take his seat on the board because he doesn’t live in District 7.
Turpen is facing incumbent Marshann Entwhistle for the Republican nomination for the District 7 seat.
But while Entwhistle lives within the district’s boundaries, Turpen, who lives at 23865 Tiskilwa Bottom Road outside of Tiskilwa, doesn’t.
County Clerk Kami Hieronymus confirmed Tuesday that Turpen is a resident of District 19.
“He doesn’t live in the district,” she said. “If he would win the election, it would be a problem.”
Hieronymus said Turpen contacted her office before the end of the Dec. 5, 2011, filing period to see which district he lived in. She said at one time he had been coded into District 7 and wanted to know which was correct.
After a little research, Hieronymus determined that Turpen lived in District 19, just across the road from District 7.
“So I told him,” she said. “He was well aware.”
On Wednesday, Tom Sweeney, Bureau County’s Supervisor of Assessments, confirmed that Turpen lives in District 19, and has for many years.
The 2010 Census showed some population swings in the county, and new district boundaries were created to keep the population in each district as similar as possible. Because the population shifted from the rural areas to the more urban areas, the rural districts got geographically bigger, while more districts are clustered around the urban areas of Princeton and Spring Valley.
Despite Turpen’s having a card that said he lived in District 7 before the redistricting, Sweeney said Turpen has always been in District 19.
“The old hand-drawn map shows just he was just barely in District 19 before,” Sweeney said. “Now he’s solidly in District 19, completely surrounded.”
The opportunity to protest Turpen’s petition to be on the ballot ended one week after the petitions were filed, so Turpen remains on the ballot to challenge Entwhistle.
Now the question is who will win the nomination.
“It’s kind of a moot point if he doesn’t come out of the primary,” Hieronymus said. “But if he wins the primary, I believe his name would be on the ballot in the general election.”
Right now, Hieronymus said she isn’t sure exactly what would happen if Turpen wins the nomination, and she would have to investigate with the state board of elections and the state’s attorney. The issue could go back to the county’s Republican party to name a new candidate, and there’s always the option for a lawsuit to have his name removed from the general election ballot.
But one thing’s for sure. Hieronymus said that if Turpen wins the primary and the general election, he would not be able to take his seat.
“The county board chairman would have to appoint someone else, and it would create a vacancy on the board,” she said.
David Turpen did not return calls to the BCR by press-time.
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