January 5th, 2012
Springfield- State Sen. John Jones, R- Mount Vernon, pulled the plug on is primary eledction bid Wednesday. Jones, a 16-year veteran of the General Assembly, withdrew from his March 20 matchup against state Sen. Kyle McCarter, saying he wasn’t sure he could survive a challenge of his nominating petitions by his opponent.
Jones, 71, was locked in a primary battle against the Lebanon businessman in the newly drawn 54th Senate district, which includes all or parts of Washington, Clinton, Madison, St. Clair, Bond, Fayette, Marion and Effingham counties.
McCarter challenged Jones’ nominating petitions and found enough potential problems that Jones exited the race rather than embark on a legal fight. To run in the Senate primary, a candidate must have at least 1,000 valid signatures from registered voters within the district. Jones said if each of McCarter’s challenges had been successful, he would have been dozens of signatures short of staying on the ballot.
“I wasn’t afraid of any kind of primary,” McCarter said. “I’m simply asking that the law be followed. What is being asked is not a huge, unattainable goal.”
It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether the move means an end to Jones career in Springfield, which began in 1995 when he was elected to the House. He moved into his Senate seat in 2003.
“I’m going to leave my options open,” Jones said.
Jones had a wide fundraising advantage, with more than $286,000 in the bank compared to McCarter’s $39,000.
The winner of the Republican contest will face off against Centralia Democrat Danny Stover, who has previously run for U.S. Congress.
McCarter was appointed to his 51st Senate District post in 2009 to fill a vacancy left by former Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson’s retirement. McCarter won a full term in the seat in 2010.
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