Current Adams County Sheriff retiring; former sheriff switches parties in run for County Board

Wagner and Fischer

Rich Wagner, left, and Brent Fischer

QUINCY — UPDATED Adams County Sheriff Rich Wagner will retire from his position in December.

Wagner, who did not file a petition to run for the office he was appointed to, issued a statement Tuesday morning. Filing for elected offices for the June 28 primary closed at 5 p.m. Monday.

Wagner’s statement:

I would like to announce that I will not run for a new term as Adams County Sheriff. I have worked in law enforcement for over 27 years and it has been a wonderful and fulfilling career.

It has been a true blessing to serve the citizens of Adams County.  However, there are times in life when a person must do what is best for them and their family. Unfortunately, that time is now for me.  My current decision is to retire from the sheriff’s office at the end of my term, December 1st, 2022.

It has been an honor and a privilege to be able to work alongside some of the finest employees and law enforcement officers around.  I would like to thank all of you for the encouragement and support you have shown me during my career.

“I ask the Adams County community to continue to show all police officers, correctional officers, and first responders your support and appreciation – they need it now more than ever.

Wagner was appointed sheriff in September 2020 following the retirement of Brian VonderHaar, so he was never elected to the position.

That leaves Tony Grootens as the lone candidate to file for Adams County Sheriff. Grootens, a Republican, has 40 years of law enforcement experience, including more than a decade in the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, and also as police chief in Jacksonville, Ill.

The Adams County Democratic Party could appoint someone to any ballot vacancy on the Democratic ticket following the June primary.

Adams County Clerk and Recorder Ryan Niekamp filed as a Republican to run for his first full term in that office. He was appointed to the position in March 2020 following the resignation of Chuck Venvertloh. He defeated Democrat Arianna Downard-Salih in November 2020 to run for the remainder of the unexpired term and now faces her again as Downard-Salih filed to run against Niekamp again this year.

Adams County Treasurer Bryden Cory, a Republican, is the lone person to file for that office. Same for Regional Superintendent of Education Jill Reis.

The Adams County Board has 37 candidates filing for 21 seats.

One of the final day filers for County Board was former Adams County Sheriff Brent Fischer. Fischer served 17 years as sheriff as an elected Democrat. He filed to run for County Board District 7 as a Republican.

Fischer served as director of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board from 2015 to September 2021. He was appointed under former Governor Bruce Rauner and discharged under the current governor, Democrat JB Pritzker.

Fischer joins a crowded field in the District 7 race including incumbent Republicans David Hoskins, Theresa Bockhold and Joe Zanger. Jeremy Allen is another Republican challenger in District 7.

Adams County Democratic Party Chair Kate Daniels is the lone Democrat to file for County Board in District 7.

Up to three members from each party can advance from the June 28 primary to the November 8 general election, where the top three vote-getters, regardless of party, will win seats in each County Board district.

Five incumbents did not file for election to the County Board: Republican Megan Howell, who was appointed to a District 2 seat following the death of Rebecca Weed, Republican Taylor Rakers in District 4, Democrat Matt Obert in District 5, Republican Mark Peter in District 5 and Republican John Brady in District 6.

Todd Dusterhaus County Board – Dist 1 Democratic Incumbent
Stephen Maxwell County Board – Dist 1 Democratic
Bret Austin County Board – Dist 1 Republican Incumbent
Steven W. DeMoss County Board – Dist 1 Democratic Incumbent
Keith Callaway County Board – Dist 1 Republican
Barbara J. Fletcher County Board – Dist 2 Republican Incumbent
Mark T. Sorensen County Board – Dist 2 Republican
Ryan Hinkamper County Board – Dist 2 Republican Incumbent
Valerie Maxie County Board – Dist 2 Democratic
Sarah Lucey County Board – Dist 3 Democratic
Raquel D. Sparrow County Board – Dist 3 Republican Incumbent
Marvin Kerkhoff County Board – Dist 3 Republican Incumbent
David P. Bellis County Board – Dist 3 Republican Incumbent
Rodney J. Hermsmeier County Board – Dist 3 Republican
James E. Fisher Jr. County Board – Dist 3 Republican
Mark Dietrich County Board – Dist 3 Republican 3/14/2022 
Deborah Kennedy County Board – Dist 4 Republican
Michael Steven (Steve) McQueen County Board – Dist 4 Republican
R. Kent Snider County Board – Dist 4 Republican Incumbent
Travis L. Cooley County Board – Dist 4 Republican Incumbent
Jon McCoy County Board – Dist 5 Republican
Tim Finlay County Board – Dist 5 Republican
Robert E. Reich County Board – Dist 5 Republican Incumbent
Thomas Himpsl County Board – Dist 5 Democratic
Brien Ohnemus County Board – Dist 5 Republican 
Jebora Brock County Board – Dist 5 Democratic 
Bradley W. Poulter County Board – Dist 6 Republican
Brandon M. Riley County Board – Dist 6 Republican
David D.L. McCleary County Board – Dist 6 Republican Incumbent
Les Post County Board – Dist 6 Republican Incumbent
Samuel DeMoss – Dist 6 Democrat

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