By Ben Chapman
VOTE COUNT NOTE: In 2014, Democratic candidate for Champaign County Board District 1, Eugenia Watson, received 1,214 votes, or 19.42% of the vote. In this election, Ben Chapman received 2,614 votes, or 32.14% of the vote, making him the strongest Democratic candidate the district has recently seen. He won 2.15 times the total votes, and 1.65 times the vote share of the previous Democratic candidate.
STATEMENT: I have conceded the election to County Board Member Mr. James Goss, and have thanked him for running a fair, positive campaign. In the coming days, I will do my best to thank the many volunteers who have helped me speak to voters about my candidacy. The conversations we had placed us on the front lines of democracy, and I am confident that, through these conversations, we have made District 1 a more connected, neighborly community.
I grew up in District 1. I know my hometown, and I know the values and beliefs that make my community what it is. When I announced my campaign, I knew my odds of victory were slim. I knew that, due to my party affiliation and the issues I emphasized, I may be viewed adversarially by many voters, and that not all the conversations I had would be positive ones. But I also knew that there were many members of my community who desperately wanted new representation in government — and they deserved a chance to cast their vote for that.
Within District 1, there are people who look differently, speak differently, worship differently, learn differently, live differently, and love differently. And though my vote count came up short, I believe that each vote I did receive is a referendum on a simple idea: District 1 should be a home to everyone.
Moving forward, I ask Mr. Goss and Ms. Eisenmann to use the privilege they have as elected officials to make this District and this County the welcoming community I know it can be. As for me, the friends and memories made through my campaign will long be cherished, and I look forward to what we can accomplish together in Champaign County.