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DeWayne's World - LaHood misjudged interest in race

DeWayne Bartels
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, right, speaks to a crowd at a Darin LaHood for Peoria County State's Attorney event while LaHood, center, and at-large councilman Gary Sandberg listen.

Many months back when Darin LaHood announced his intent to seek the office of Peoria County state’s attorney, I thought he had nothing but a name going for him.

He has  far more than name recognition, his supporters say.

Regardless of whether one thinks LaHood is the man for the job, you have to give him one thing — he has been an aggressive campaigner right from the start.  It seems as if

LaHood misjudged how intense interest in the race for Peoria County state’s attorney would be, and how early it would manifest itself.

LaHood does not agree with me. Some others, though, think the way I do.

At a recent fundraiser at Agatucci’s — where the beer and pizza were free — LaHood played to a packed house. But, I suspect the same crowd would have showed up minus the free goodies.

LaHood told the editorial board of the Peoria Times-Observer last year he did not expect the race to heat up until August or so. I decided to ask some veteran politicos about LaHood’s assessment.  

Peoria County Sheriff Mike McCoy said LaHood did underestimate how quickly the race would grab the public’s attention.

“There are two good candidates ... I think anytime you have the race for state’s attorney or sheriff, there’s interest because these offices involve public safety,” McCoy said.

Because the campaign is heating up McCoy said LaHood and incumbent Kevin Lyons have a long five-month campaign ahead of them.

For more on this story see the 6/4/08 issue of the Peoria Times-Observer.