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February 27, 2006

The sheriff's primary

It's not been a very high-profile contest so far, but the race for the Democratic nomination as Rock Island County sheriff is worth keeping an eye on.

Incumbent Mike Grchan, going for a fifth term, faces one of his deputies, Sgt. Mike Huff, in a head-to-head contest this year. You'll recall that in the 2002 primary, Grchan won with just 38.7 percent of the vote in a five-way race in which Huff finished third with 23.9 percent, just behind retired sheriff's captain Gene Jungwirth's 24.2 percent.

Huff trails big-time in the money department; he had just $32.52 on hand as of Jan. 1, compared to Grchan's $9,957.94. Huff also was carrying $16,000 in debt, all owed to himself. though his money situation may have improved after last weekend's fund-raiser in Moline, which was sponsored by AFSCME Council 31, according to Huff's website.

Huff, the long-time union rep for the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 61, and Grchan have clashed repeatedly over the years over disciplinary issues, with Huff and the union generally coming out on top. (See the union news page on Huff's website.)

Posted by jcb at February 27, 2006 02:53 PM


You've got that right, John. This primary has all the makings of becoming much more closely watched -- at least by Democrats -- than any other primary around.

Posted by: anonymous at February 27, 2006 09:10 PM

When you start bringing collective bargaining grievances into a race for sheriff you're in trouble. Those matters are internal sheriff's office matters. I'm not here to defend or criticize Mike Grchan, but as sheriff he will naturally butt heads with unions. That comes with the turf. Unions represent a special interest looking out for their members. God bless them. But their interests don't necessarily always equate to the collective public interest as a whole. Huff should run his race on other issues, not grievances from personnel matters. Having said that, I think the race will be close -- I'll say 52-48 in favor of the incumbent.

Posted by: anonymous at February 28, 2006 06:42 PM

Grchan 63
Huff 37

I attended Mike Grchans fundraiser tongight. More people over the age of 50 then the local diaylisis center... and those people actually vote. Huff's shot his load, Grchan by 10% points at least. Amen. Happy Fat Tuesday

Posted by: Anonymous at February 28, 2006 10:43 PM

I think Grchan will pull this one off...The problem in Huff or Grchan is that they have the same preconceived notions about what the Rock Island County Sheriff's Office should be.

There are so many great things the Sheriff's office should be engaged in beyond the same old DARE and Community Policiing Programs they have Both trotted out year after year.

The office needs to be updated with modern technology to protect the citizens of the county. The SHeriff's office needs to take an active role in tracking and registration of the almost 400 sex offenders throughout the county.

The Sheriff should be visible and engaged in the community....When was the last time you saw any Sheriff at a place like southpark talking to citizens about programs he offers to impact thier lives.

The office really needs someone who can come in from outside and innovate. After all the Sheriff is supposed to work for the citizens of the county...not any party or intrest group.

Posted by: prairiestatedem at March 17, 2006 03:23 PM

The Sheriff's race is simple. Why is Grchan seeking another term? Has he said why? What is he saying he will accomplish in the next four years that he didn't get done in the last 16? Another command member of the department has gone to the media about being attacked by Grchan. How many more will there be? I also saw an editorial from an employee who was terminated for "filing a grievance." I have not seen anything from Huff about a personal issue. Grchan term limit is up.

Posted by: Polictical Geek at March 18, 2006 09:39 PM