Election 2024: Grundy County Chairman Chris Balkema carries big lead in 53rd Senate District

November winner would succeed state Sen. Tom Bennett

Election 2024
Chris Balkema

Grundy County Board Chairman Chris Balkema held nearly a 2 to 1 lead Tuesday night in the Illinois 53rd Senate District race for the Republican nomination.

He recorded 10,999 votes to Jesse Faber’s 6,962; Mike Kirkton’s 2,173; and Susan Wynn Bence’s 1,784 across the La Salle, Bureau, Putnam, Grundy, Marshall, Woodford, Tazewell, Livingston, McLean, Ford and Iroquois counties race.

There was no Democrat running in the primary. The winner of the November general election will succeed state Sen. Tom Bennett, R-Gibson City, who is retiring.

Balkema declared himself Tuesday’s victor.

“I want to thank my incredible volunteer team and express my immense gratitude for the faith Republican voters placed in me to be our next state senator,” Balkema said in a news release late Tuesday. “We have a lot of work to do in Springfield and I will work as hard as I have as Grundy County Board chairman in bringing about conservative results.”

In his candidate questionnaire with Shaw Media, Balkema said he believed illegal immigration and increased cost of living to be his district’s top issues and he would work toward property tax reform and to walk back the SAFE-T Act.

Balkema garnered 55.3% of the unofficial vote in La Salle County, 70.6% of the vote in Grundy County and 59.6% of the vote in Putnam County, where he finished on top Tuesday. Jesse Faber recorded 54.9% of the vote in Bureau County and 43.5% in Livingston County, in which he carried Tuesday.