Tazewell County Auditor Shelly Hranka announced her bid for the seat of county clerk at a press conference Friday at the Tazewell County Courthouse, saying she will run a positive campaign.

Hranka, a Republican, is not the first to make a very early announcement for the office — former Tazewell County Board Member John Ackerman, also a Republican, announced on July 24 that he would seek the seat. He previously ran against Christie Webb and was defeated overwhelmingly by 2,500 votes. Hranka emailed Ackerman Thursday to let him know of her intent to run.

Hranka said she plans to run a clean campaign and focus on the issues, as she did when running for auditor in the last election. 

“I plan on running my campaign the same way I did for auditor, which is positive — get out and meet the people and hear what they have to say and let them know that I’m open to all of the suggestions," she said.

Hranka said voter security is a top issue. The possible Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election and the sanctions proposed against them are fresh on the minds of voters.

“As we are all aware, tampering with votes that have been cast is of utmost concern both on the national level and the local level,” said Hranka.  “I will ensure with great diligence that Tazewell County will have the best technology available to us to ensure our voting system is secure and accurate.”  

Hranka said she will work closely with Webb and her staff for a smooth transition. She said the Auditor’s office has allowed her to “establish a good working relationship with all employees of Tazewell County.”

“I have to say that I have a great deal of respect for the outgoing retiring clerk, Christie Webb, and the way she has managed the office over the last 24 years,” said Hranka. “The County Clerk Office is in good shape and I plan to continue the projects Christie Webb has started with regard to updating our election technology and systems to improve our election process.   

“It is time to look to the future and determine after careful analysis what needs to be done to ensure that the County Clerk’s office is providing the services that are required by the public. I’m looking forward during this campaign to meeting as many of our county residents as possible to ascertain what improvements could be made to help the office be more responsive to everyone’s needs. I welcome all ideas and comments.”

Hranka said her door will be open to all and she will serve all. She said transparency will be a priority — any changes to the clerk’s office will be announced to the public.

“As your present county auditor, I have worked diligently to bring order to the auditor’s office,” said Hranka. “I have put policies and procedures in place as well as brought the office in compliance with all state statutes.

“My passion and zeal for the auditor’s office will not waver. I will continue to my last day to make it an integral part of Tazewell County. I know I can bring my leadership and organization skills to the county clerk’s office to make it the best run county clerk’s office in the state of Illinois.

Petition circulation starts on Sept 5. They must be submitted to the Tazewell County Clerk’s Office sometime between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. Republican candidates will need 275 signatures to get on the ballot and Democrats will need 107.

Webb said Friday that she is not endorsing anyone at this time because she has no idea what the candidates plans are for the office.

“I am not supporting anyone,” she said. “It’s way too early — the petitions can’t be circulated and have not been filed. It remains to be seen (if I support anyone).”

Tazewell County Coroner Jeff Baldi announced his support of Hranka at the press conference, saying, “Shelly Hranka, newly elected but very, very full of energy, has touched every office in this county in some form or fashion.”

Follow Sharon Woods Harris at Twitter.com/sharrispekin