After almost 24 years as Tazewell County clerk, and more than four decades in local government, Christie Webb has other plans.
“I just decided after 44 years, it was time,” Webb said Friday morning in revealing she won’t run in 2018 for another four-year term.
“I want to spend time with my family,” the rural Pekin resident said. “My husband (Phil) has been retired for several years now. I hope to be able to do some things, spend time with my grandkids and enjoy life in general.”
Webb, a Democrat, has served in elective office since 1984, when she won a race for county auditor. The 63-year-old held that position until 1994, when she ran for clerk after Duane Gray retired.
“I think it was just the challenge,” Webb said about her rationale for switching offices. “I enjoyed the auditor’s office and enjoyed the numbers. But when this office became available, I thought elections would be fun. I like payroll. It was a challenge, and I decided just to go for it.”
Among other things, Webb’s office oversees elections in Tazewell County and compiles County Board minutes. In 2012, the county clerk also assumed the duties of the recorder of deeds office, after voters approved a merger.
Automation has been among the biggest changes Webb said she’s seen, particularly the transition from punchcard balloting. Typewriters still were standard in 1975, when she began county employment.
Webb worked in the County Board office for 6½ years, then for Pekin Township for 3½ years before she first ran for auditor. She is the only Democrat who holds countywide executive office in her jurisdiction.
Another longtime Tazewell County incumbent, Sheriff Robert Huston, announced in January he would not seek re-election in 2018. Vicki Grashoff, who was auditor for 20 years, didn’t run in 2016 for another term.
In her last run for clerk, Webb won about 53 percent of the vote in a sometimes-contentious race in 2014 against former County Board member John Ackerman, a Republican from Washington.
Webb received endorsements then from Huston and two other GOP countywide office holders, State's Attorney Stewart Umholtz and County Board Chairman David Zimmerman.
Webb said she doesn’t know of anybody from either political party who intends to run for clerk next year. But she does appear to know it won’t be her.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve this county, and I look forward to the next segment of my life,” Webb said.