Originally Posted Online: March 20, 2012, 10:57 pm
Last Updated: March 20, 2012, 11:45 pm
McGehee, Wozniak to vie for state's attorney
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By Anthony Watt, firstname.lastname@example.org
John McGehee will be the Democratic candidate for Rock Island County state's attorney in November's general election.
Mr. McGehee was one of three Democratic candidates vying for the party's nomination to replace Jeff Terronez, who resigned as state's attorney in April 2011 and pleaded guilty to one count of providing alcohol to a minor.
Mr. McGehee will face Republican Jim Wozniak in November.
With 120 of 120 precincts reporting, Mr. McGehee had 5,855 votes, Tom Skorepa had 4,057 votes and Jack Schwartz had 1,425 votes.
"It's a very good night," Mr. McGehee said.
He said he now will catch up with the workload from his law practice, spend some time with his family, then speak with his campaign about his approach toward the general election.
Mr. McGehee, 51, of Moline, has said the controversy around Mr. Terronez made him believe the state's attorney's office needed someone with honesty, integrity and leadership ability.
"You need to listen and then find solutions to so many different problems in the community. I have a vision for the office," he has said.
Prosecutors must be proactive and be able to talk to residents, school leaders and police officers as they attempt to isolate what the particular criminal issues are in the community and then work to solve those issues, he said.
If elected, he would start by raising the morale in the state's attorney's office, Mr. McGehee said.
Mr. McGehee never has held elected office but ran for circuit court judge in 2000 as a Republican. He switched parties soon after.
He said he could not speak yet as to the challenges he might face from Mr. Wozniak.
"I'm happy to finally know," Mr. Wozniak said of the Democratic primary.
He said he believes he has the stronger experience, both as a criminal law attorney and as a politician.
Mr. Wozniak, of Milan, is an assistant in the state's attorney's office. He is the first Republican to seek the seat since Rick Moskowitz ran and lost to Democrat James Teros in 1980.
He has said previously that he thinks Rock Island County residents want someone who is going to enforce the laws of the state and someone who is going to bring dignity and respect.
"There are a lot of people who are upset that the county is not going in the direction they hope it would be," he said previously. "They're looking for a change."
Mr. Wozniak was elected to the North Liberty, Iowa, city council at age 27 and served one term. He also worked as a legislative correspondent for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for a year before attending law school.
He graduated from the University of Iowa Law School in 2007 and worked as a criminal defense attorney for a little more than two years, practicing in Illinois and Iowa. He was hired in the Rock Island County state's attorney's office in April.
"I congratulate Mr. McGehee on his win," Mr. Schwartz said on Tuesday night. "It was a hard-fought campaign."
Mr. Schwartz said he is planning to look into the possibility of a third-party run.
Mr. Skorepa could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.