VIENNA, Ill. (AP) — The Democratic candidate trying to succeed the longest-serving sheriff in Illinois history has died.
Johnson County Sheriff Elry Faulkner tells WSIL-TV that Jay Merchant was found unresponsive Tuesday by a family member and was later pronounced dead at a Marion Hospital.
The cause of death has not been released.
Merchant was a former Vienna Correctional Center warden who ran unopposed as a Democrat in last week's primary election. He was to face Republican and part-time sheriff's deputy Charles Harner in November.
Merchant had spent three decades with the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Faulkner is retiring after 40 years as sheriff.
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