The chairman of the Winnebago County Board will not run for re-election. Republican Scott Christiansen is dropping out of the March 15 primary.
In Winnebago County, the chairman of the county board is elected by voters, not chosen by the board itself.
Christiansen has held the position since 2004 and, up until Sunday, it appeared he would run again. That’s when he told Rockford Register Star political editor Chuck Sweeny he was ending his re-election bid for health and family reasons.
Sweeny says Christiansen told him it was not because of an FBI investigation into county purchasing, but "trying to run a re-election campaign with an investigation by the federal government going on is really difficult, and I don't think he had it in him to do that."
Christiansen will not leave the job early, though, which would have made it easier for Republicans to put their next county leader in place. He’ll finish out his term in December. He told the Register Star he plans to finish his work on programs to strengthen neighborhoods and find jobs for the difficult to employ.
There’s now just one Republican on the primary ballot for county board chairman: Frank Haney. John Nelson has filed as a write-in for the Democrats.