Helland wins Grundy state’s attorney race
By Sarwat S. ahmad Correspondent November 7, 2012 7:58AM
Updated: December 9, 2012 7:25PM
Newcomer Republican Jason Helland on Tuesday beat sitting Democrat Johnathan Bates in the race for Grundy County state’s attorney.
Helland, who has been a prosecutor in the Kankakee County state’s attorney’s office for more than eight years, received 55.11 percent of the votes to Bates’ 44.89 percent.
“I’m ecstatic that our hard work paid off,” Helland said in a phone interview. “We’ve visited 10,000 homes in the last 14 months. We expected a win.”
With his wife Sara due to deliver their first child — a girl — any day now, Helland said that his win is a “storybook ending.”
“I’m glad that all the sacrifices that we have made have paid off,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being Grundy County’s state’s attorney and working with local law enforcement.”
Bates has been the county’s state’s attorney since March 2011, after being nominated by the Grundy County Democrats and then being appointed by the Grundy County Board, to fill the unexpired term of Democrat Sheldon Sobol, which ends on Dec. 1. Sobol resigned to fill the vacated associate judge seat of Lance Peterson, the county’s new second circuit judge.
“I am obviously disappointed, because it is truly a job that I love — but the people have spoken,” Bates said in a phone interview. “I’m sure that Mr. Helland will do a fine job.”
Bates said that he was proud to have not only run “a clean campaign,” but to also turn over the county to Helland in good shape. “I’m happy (with the state of the county) in regards to safety and quality of life,” he said.
Prior to his appointment, Bates was a partner in the law offices of Belt, Bates and Associates in Morris. However, he said that he is unsure of what his future career plans will be.
“For right now, I know I’ll get some sleep,” Bates joked.