A relatively high voter turnout in Washington County helped put Okawville farmer and county board member Charlie Meier over the top in the three-way GOP primary race for state representative in the 108th House District.
While most counties in the state showed record low turnout rates in the teens, Washington County's turnout was at 35 percent, according to a county clerk employee.
With the help of $42,000 in campaign contributions from Illinois teacher union organizations, Meier defeated incumbent Paul Evans of O'Fallon, who has served by appointment since last year after long-serving Rep. Ron Stephens of Greenville retired. Meier also topped Don Weber of Troy, a former Madison County circuit judge and state's attorney.
Of the 11,453 ballots cast in the 108th District race, Meier took 38 percent. Evans had 33 percent and Weber had 29 percent of the total.
Meier won Washington and Clinton counties by significant margins.
In Washington County, Meier received 1,796 votes or 73 percent of the total votes cast. Evans won 15 percent with 381 votes and Weber won 12 percent with 291 votes.
In Clinton County, voter turn out was less than 14 percent. Meier won by 48 percent with 1,317 votes. Evans won 31 percent with 827 votes. Weber won 21 percent with 560 votes.
Both Evans and Weber had strong showings in their home counties.
In St. Clair County, with an 18 percent voter turnout, Evans captured 61 percent with 1,303 votes. Weber won 23 percent with 488 votes. Meier won 16 percent with 345 votes.
In Madison County, voter turnout figures were not available on Wednesday afternoon. But, Weber was strongest at 48 percent with 1,991 votes. Evans won 30 percent with 1,222 votes. Meier won 22 percent with 932 votes.
Meier currently faces no Democratic opposition in the November general election.
The seat, which was named the 102nd House District until the state's legislative map was redrawn following the last U.S. Census, had been held by a legislator with roots in Madison and St. Clair counties for the better part of the last two decades.
In total, Meier raised $47,500 in contributions, the vast majority coming from the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education. Other teacher unions - Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE and Southwestern Area Council AFTCOPE - each kicked in $5,000 apiece for Meier.
On the other hand, Evans raised $28,000 since the beginning of the year. His donations came from business and health industry organizations, individuals and the campaign committees of O'Fallon Mayor Gary Graham and St. Clair County Board Member John West.
Weber raised $29,300 since the beginning of the year. He contributed close to $13,000 of his own funds. Conservative movement leader Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum contributed $2,000. Alton attorney Tom Long contributed $1,250 to Weber.