Clay Campell wins state’s attorney primary

By Melissa Mastrogiovanni

Clay Campbell arrived to a joyous reception at the law office of Christine Taylor in Sycamore after winning re-election as the DeKalb County State’s Attorney.

Friends, secretaries and coworkers applauded Campbell upon his arrival Tuesday night. Even a dog, wearing a Clay Campbell T-shirt came up to receive a pat from the state’s attorney.

Campbell said it was a humbling experience to have voters come to the polls and pick his name and gave credit to some higher power, which allowed him to go door-to-door, handing out signs even in unpleasant weather.

“Whatever higher power helped me get through this, I’m grateful for that energy,” Campbell said.

Campbell compared this year’s election with his victory in 2010 and said there was a lot more pressure this time.

“The first time, you’re so stunned that you won,” Campbell said. “In 2010, there was a groundswell of support for Republicans.”

Campbell said he wanted to run based on his record of experience and not popularity. Campbell said he felt “enormous pressure” this year because every time there is an election, there is inevitably a change in personnel. Campbell said he felt responsible for the secretaries and assistant state’s attorneys in his office and their futures because their families are depending on them.

Campbell said the office has had an “unprecedented” year and a half prosecuting major crimes in homicide, drugs and other violent crimes. Campbell said he needs to clean up the situation around NIU.

“NIU can be the safest place in the county,” Campbell said. “I’ve always felt a responsibility to keep NIU as safe as possible.”

Campbell said he commended his opponent, Sean Smith, for the race he ran.

Smith said he was disappointed with the results because he hoped to bring honesty and integrity to the state’s attorney’s office.

“I’ve tried to tell the truth, and I think people should know the truth,” Smith said.

Smith said he wanted to thank his supporters of him and his family, during this election.

Campbell’s supporters said Campbell ran a clean race and was the more qualified candidate.

“Clay absolutely deserved to win,” said legal secretary Bridgette Shoaf. “He’s very honest and genuinely caring and one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met.”

Attorney Jill Konen agreed and said she believed the best person won.

“I think hands-down, Clay has more experience, more tact and more diplomacy,” Konen said.

Konen said she believes Campbell would serve the county better than Smith, and hopes the results send a clear message that negative campaigning is not the way to win an election.

Attorney Christine Taylor, who has known Campbell since 2001, said she was not surprised about the results because Campbell had more experience than Smith.