Rural Farmington resident Joseph Yurkovich, who back in June announced his second attempt to take down state Rep. Mike Smith in the Feb. 5 Democratic primary, has dropped out of the race for "personal reasons."
Rural Farmington resident Joseph Yurkovich has dropped out of the race for state Rep. Mike Smith’s 91st District seat.
He said he’s not running for the spot a second time for "personal reasons." When the pair faced off in the Democratic primary in 2006, Yurkovich cited disappointment in Smith’s job performance and criticized his attentiveness to the district.
"I can not tell you the appreciation I have for the many who have worked so hard on my behalf during the last two years. I can not thank you enough and I will never forget your support," Yurkovich said in a brief prepared statement.
He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Smith said he’s felt "really encouraged" by the response he’s been receiving from constituents. No Republican challengers have announced their intentions to seek the seat, which covers parts of Peoria, Fulton and Tazewell counties.
Prior to 2004, Smith had not had a primary challenger since he was first elected in 1994, when he led a five-person primary. Last year the veteran lawmaker came off a highly contested re-election primary battle with Yurkovich and Marvin Bainter of Lewistown.
Yurkovich, who has worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections for the past 16 years, promised a new approach and progress specifically in Fulton County, where he said there has been little property tax relief and little done to address the continuing rise of health care.
Smith, however, countered those points and said he’s done his best to meet constituents’ needs.
Since being re-elected, he has held numerous coffee shop stops, town hall meetings, working family office hours, satellite office hours, ice cream socials and district-wide events. He has formed several citizen advisory committees to keep citizens informed and get their take on education, health care, public safety, economic development issues and more.
Karen McDonald can be reached at (309) 686-3285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.