Rock Island Dispatch/Argus

Swanson, Butts vie for Moffitt's former seat

    By Dennis Moran, Updated Oct 21, 2016 (…)


With the retirement of long-serving state Rep. Donald Moffitt, R-Gilson, voters in the 74th District have a choice between Republican Dan Swanson, a Henry County farmer, and Democrat Bill Butts, a Galesburg lawyer.

The 74th District takes in all of Mercer County and most of Henry, as well as parts of Knox, Bureau and Lee counties. Rep. Moffitt has served the district since 1992.

In addition to operating a multi-generational family farm, Mr. Swanson, of Alpha, served 23 years in the Army, including a year in Iraq where he led a team organizing talks between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in Kurdistan. In conversation on issues facing the state, he refers at times to his Army experience, particularly as it involved teamwork.

Mr. Butts, an attorney for 37 years with his own practice, draws on his legal experience and studies in economics in discussing state issues. His conversation is peppered with references to Benjamin Franklin and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to make historical political references he believes are still pertinent today.

This race is attracting less financing than neighboring House district races. According to the State Board of Elections website, Mr. Swanson has received $67,436 in cash, in-kind contributions and loans through this week, while Mr. Butts has received $6,000 in contributions of more than $1,000, all since July.

    Candidates for the nearby 71st District seat -- incumbent state Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, and challenger Tony McCombie, R-Savanna -- have taken in more than $2 million between them.

Following are excerpts from the candidates on some of the issues facing the state, taken from separate interviews with the editorial board of the The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.


Mr. Butts: There are several issues he believes could be helped by changing income taxes from a flat tax to a progressive tax, in which low earners would pay less and high earners more.

"We need to get a graduated, progressive income tax in as soon as we can, so that we can take the pressure off of business taxes and property taxes and make education uniform in spending" between rural areas and wealthy Chicago-area collar counties, Mr. Butts said. He said a progressive tax would ease the burdens on business and property taxes, helping to retain businesses and farmers, and provide more revenue to ease the state's budget crisis while funding education more equally and funding other initiatives. He listed mental health and fixing infrastructure among his priorities. Borrowing for infrastructure improvements, he said, would be helped by the improved credit rating a balanced budget would bring.

"One of the biggest problems we have now is mental illness on the street," Mr. Butts said. "Certainly, mentally ill people having weapons is a problem. We have to do more to help these people, and I realize the funds haven't been there."

Mr.  Swanson:

Mr. Swanson opposes switching Illinois to a progressive income tax.

"People at the federal level scream and scream for a flat-line tax. We kind of have that in Illinois," he said. "If we go to a progressive income tax, how much is that going to increase the manpower in Springfield to manage a new (tax system) program? Look how big the IRS is. I'm about smaller government."

Mr. Swanson said rising equalized assessed valuations through a healthier, more business-friendly economy would enhance property tax revenue, over which local governments have more control than state funds. He cited costly state education mandates that he saw as an AlWood School Board member, including staff training costs.

"It's kind of been my battle cry: Let the educators educate, let the legislators legislate," Mr. Swanson said. "Let's not legislate education from Springfield."

State budget

Mr. Butts: "We have to start working across the aisle for one thing," he said. "To blame one sector of the economy for all our ills is wrong.

"We need to start looking at this from a purely technical, economic point of view and try to get the politics out of it right now as much as we can. ... As Benjamin Franklin said, we have to consult with each other and not contest each other.

"Let's take the unions and the whole Turnaround Agenda out of the picture. How are we going to deal with this from a revenue-raising standpoint? What are we going to do different? What are we going to try?"

Mr. Swanson: "We have to come to an agreement to pass one. As I understand right now -- talking with (Republican House) leader (Jim) Durkin and Rep. Moffitt -- the governor is willing to sit down and compromise, but he can't get everyone at the table. That's shameful.

"All the years in the military I was on a team ... the team of a unit or command of a team. When I'm out talking to folks, I'm pushing for the team to get (Republican House candidates) Brandi (McGuire) and Tony (McCombie) in, so we have a voice in Springfield as a Republican Party."


Mr. Butts: "We need to change the districting. ... I think that's the only way we're going to get trust back in the state government," he said.

"(House Speaker Michael) Madigan is just not doing the job by blocking this," Mr. Butts said. "The average person, they know there's a problem. By blocking (the Independent Maps proposal) through legal suits is doing nothing but festering the distrust that people have."

Mr. Swanson: He also supports the Independent Mapping proposal, with districts drawn by an independent commission. Taking redistricting away from political parties would result in more competitive districts, he said, and lessen a perceived need by many for term limits. The Illinois Supreme Court prevented the redistricting plan from appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot, citing constitutional grounds.

"When you have two people compete (for a district seat) on an equal field, I think that would help with some of the 30-year, 40-year politicians," Mr. Swanson said.


Galesburg Register Mail

April 22, 2016 12:02 p.m.

Money wasn’t everything in last month’s primary elections. 

Looking at campaign finance data from January to March, posted earlier this month, the average amount spent per vote was $4.76 in the three main contested primary races involving Knox County. 

In the Republican race for the Illinois 17th Congressional District, Jack Boccarossa spent the least out of any of the seven candidates in contested elections. He did not raise enough to report to the Federal Elections Commission, spending virtually $0 per vote and received 15,525 votes. 

His opponent Patrick Harlan spent approximately 8 cents per vote, raising a total of $3,785 and spending slightly more than that at $3,792. He got 49,217 votes. 

The most expensive local race this primary was the three-man GOP contest for the 74th House District seat, and the winner was the one who spent the least. Combined, the three candidates spent $89,775, not including money spent outside their campaigns. 

The winner, Dan Swanson, spent the least total and per vote. He raised $25,498 and spent $25,585. With 8,363 votes he spent $3.06 per vote. 

The first runner-up, Mike DeSutter, raised $53,350 and spent $37,433 in the first quarter of 2016. With 5,874 total votes for him, he spent $6.37 per vote. It did not include the money spent on DeSutter’s behalf from the Chicago-based Liberty Principles PAC; about $42,000. 

The other runner-up, Wayne Saline, collected 2,793 votes while spending $26,757, or $9.58 per vote. He raised $13,383 in that time. 

In the Democratic Knox County State’s Attorney’s race, challenger Jeremy Karlin spent the most per vote to try to get a leg up on the nine-year incumbent John Pepmeyer. It almost got him over the hump, as Karlin lost by just 52 votes. 

Karlinspent$11 spent per vote, raising $7,600 and spending $33,200 from January 1 to election day. He received 3,019 votes.

Pepmeyer, who received 3,071 votes, raised $5,460 and spent $9,909 at $3.23 per vote. 

Information on what candidates spent, how they spent it and where they got their money can be found on the Illinois State Board of Election’s website under the candidate disclosure search, or for congressional candidates, on the Federal Election Commission’s website.


Swanson wins three-way race for GOP nomination in 74th House District

Posted Mar. 16, 2016 at 9:42 AM 
Daniel Swanson won the Republican nomination for the 74th District House seat, polling 8,363 votes to 5,874 for Michael DeSutter and 2,793 for Wayne Saline. Swanson will now face Democrat Bill Butts in November.

The votes in Mercer County followed the same pattern as in the rest of the district, with 1,086 for Swanson, 789 for DeSutter and 492 for Saline. Those are unofficial results. Swanson won every county in the district except Knox, where he finished second to DeSutter. DeSutter lives near the Knox/Henry County line.

Swanson, of rural Alpha, said he was pleased with the support he received in Mercer County.

"Very excited and very pleased to see how strong Mercer County supported me," he said by phone. "Mercer County was the first county that came in and I was overwhelmed."

Swanson admitted to feeling some butterflies as he and family and friends waited for results as the polls closed at 7 p.m.

"At 7:01, I began getting nervous last night," he said with a laugh.

It was a good night all around for the candidate. He and his family were able to celebrate his father's 81st birthday and he received a call from Don Moffitt, the man who has held the seat in Springfield for 24 years. In addition, "both of them (Saline and DeSutter) called me last night (Tuesday) and offered their support."

Swanson said he and his wife had decided they would rest this (March 16) morning, then get started on the November campaign in the afternoon.

"She's resting, but I'm not," he chuckled.

Wayne Saline of rural Rio said of the campaign, "It was interesting, it was fun, it was challenging and discouraging for me."

He said the campaign showed him how many problems there are in Springfield. 

"I hope we get the problems solved," Saline said. "I think Dan will do a good job."

DeSutter said there were definitely positives about the campaign.

"I thought we met some wonderful people along the way," he said, also complimenting the help from the campaign's volunteers. "It was an issues-based campaign and hopefully focuses the state on some of the things it needs to do.

"I wish Dan the best of luck," DeSutter added.

Asked if he would ever take on a campaign of this magnitude again, he said, "It's too early to say. Never say never."

He said "it wasn't a job I needed," but his frustration with how the state is operating made him throw his hat into the ring with the hope of being elected and helping straighten out some things.

Butts, a Galesburg attorney, ran unopposed in the primary. He said he's still been doing a lot of campaigning.

"I've been really working on my base, which is the typical Democratic voter," Butts said. "I'm prepared to move into the general (election) now."


State, federal races decided

Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 4:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 5:05 p.m. CDT
By Terri Simon and Megan Smith -

Besides casting a primary vote for president of the United States, Bureau County voters helped influence state and federal races as well.

U.S. Senate

Democrats in Bureau County gave Tammy Duckworth the majority of their votes for the U.S. Senate by casting 1,993 votes. Coming in second in the county was Andrea Zopp with 746 votes, followed by Napoleon Harris with 359 votes.

Statewide, Democrats gave the nomination to Duckworth.

Republicans in Bureau County voted for Mark Kirk. Kirk earned 3,193 votes, and James Marter received 1,875 votes.

In the state, Republicans gave the winning nod to Kirk.

Duckworth and Kirk will face off in the November general election.

74th District of the Illinois House of Representatives

Three men were on the ballot, hoping to keep the seat currently held by the retiring Rep. Don Moffitt a Republican in Springfield. Moffitt, R-Gilson, did not seek a 13th term. The 74th District includes portions of Lee and Bureau counties, as well as Henry, Knox and Mercer counties.

Bureau County Republicans favored Daniel Swanson of Alpha in Tuesday’s primary. Swanson received 1,470 votes, followed by Michael DeSutter, 791 votes; and Wayne Saline, 440 votes.

Throughout the district, the overall winner was Swanson who will face Democrat Bill Butts, an attorney in Galesburg, in the Nov. 8 general election. Butts ran unopposed.

76th District of the Illinois House of Representatives

Republicans are also hoping to find another seat in the Illinois House in Springfield for the 76th District, most recently vacated by former Illinois Rep. Frank Mautino, who began his new job as Illinois Auditor General at the beginning of the year. Two Republican candidates vied for the seat — Jacob Bramel of Marseilles and Jerry Long of Streator.

Bureau County gave Long the nod with 651 votes. Bramel received 379 votes.

District-wide, Long won the nomination. Long will face off against Democrat Andy Skoog of LaSalle in the November general election. Skoog was appointed to replace Mautino, upon his resignation from the House, and ran unopposed in the primary.

The 76th District represents all or portions of Bureau, Putnam, LaSalle and Livingston counties.

Voting totals are still preliminary.

Swanson wins Republican primary in District 74, faces Butts in November election

By Stephen Elliott,
Mar 15, 2016 [Swanson wins GOP nod in 74th District]

ALPHA — Daniel Swanson, a former Henry County Board member from Alpha, won the Republican primary for the District 74 seat now held by Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson.

Mr. Swanson, an Iraqi war veteran and farmer, has been vocal about supporting veterans and services for those returning home.

Unofficial totals have Mr. Swanson garnering 7,805 votes. His opponents, Mike DeSutter, of Woodhull, and Wayne Saline, of Rio, received 4,961 votes and 2,218 votes respectively. The district covers all of Mercer County and parts of Bureau, Henry, Knox and Lee counties.

He will now face Democratic challenger Bill Butts, a Galesburg attorney who ran unopposed for his party's nomination Tuesday.

Rep. Moffitt was first elected to the Illinois House in 1992 and has decided to retire afer this year's general election.

"I'm humbled," Mr. Swanson said Tuesday evening. "When I started this campaign on the 25th of September, a lot of people didn't know who Dan Swanson was.

"Between now and then, I was able to convince people I'm someone they can trust and listen to, and will take the fight to Springfield."

Mr. Swanson said he and his wife, Tammy, will prepare for the Nov. 8 election after Tuesday's primary win. Mr. Swanson said with the storm damage on Tuesday, he said his win is put into perspective.

"I'm hearing about how some folks in the Avon area lost their homes, buildings, trucks," he said. "There are bigger things out there than my win in this campaign. I am certainly thankful to the people of the 74th District who put their trust in me."

Mr. Swanson said he father, Ron Swanson, celebrated his birthday on Tuesday. 

"We're a farm family," Mr. Swanson said. "He still ran the combine and the tractor this past fall."

Mr. Swanson served with the U.S. Army for 23 1/2 years and served in Iraq from July 2007 to July 2008.

Swanson had early lead in Republican primary for District 74 seat

By Stephen Elliott, 
Mar 15, 2016

Daniel Swanson, a former Henry County Board member from Alpha, had an early lead in the Republican primary for the District 74 seat now held by Rep. Don Moffitt, R-Gilson.

Mr. Swanson, an Iraqi war veteran and farmer, has been vocal about supporting veterans and services for those returning home. 

The district covers all of Mercer County and parts of Bureau, Henry, Knox and Lee counties. Rep. Moffitt was first elected to the Illinois House in 1992 and has decided to retire after this year's general election.

Mr. Swanson was facing Mike DeSutter, of Woodhull, and Wayne Saline, of Rio in the Republican primary. The winner will face Democratic candidate and Galesburg attorney Bill Butts, who ran unopposed Tuesday.

Mr. Swanson posted on Facebook he was celebrating his dad's 81st birthday while waiting for election results. 

Early results show in Henry County, Mr. Swanson had 2,070 votes, compared to challenger Mike DeSutter with 856 and Wayne Saline with 207 votes.

In Mercer County, with 19 of 24 precincts reporting, Mr. Swanson had 776 votes, Mr. DeSutter 601, and Mr. Saline 397.

With 15 of 50 precincts reporting in Bureau County, Mr. Swanson had 618 votes, Mr. DeSutter 335 and Mr. Saline 224.

Knox County was reporting one precinct at press time with Mr. DeSutter receiving 32 votes, Mr. Swanson 19, and Mr. Saline 16.

Results were not available in Lee County at press time.

Letter: Eelect Johnson coroner; Swanson for Statehouse

Mar 13, 2016

With Don Moffitt retiring after 22 years of distinguished public service, there is a three way Republican primary for the 74th District House seat. The best choice in the field is Dan Swanson.

Dan Swanson is a retired Army lieutenant. Colonel with 27 years of exemplary service to our country, including a combat tour in Iraq from which he earned a Bronze Star. Among his military leadership accomplishments is successfully handling sensitive negotiations between the Iraqi and Kurdish armies. If Dan could do that, he could certainly help to get Democrats and Republicans in Springfield talking together about solving the budget impasse

For Henry County coroner we have the highly respected and competent David Johnson in the office, a position he has served admirably in for the last 22 years. David was prepared for the job by being a paramedic for the Cambridge Ambulance Service and with six years as deputy coroner. His opponent has not served a single day as a coroner or deputy coroner and it would be risky to turn the office over to a neophyte.

Please vote for conservative Republican Dan Swanson for state representative, and return David Johnson to another term as coroner so he can continue to provide professional service with dignity to the people of Henry County.

Jon A. Zahm,


Campaign News


Cala Smoldt, | Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 11:17 am

SHERRARD -- The village board on Monday .............

Dan Swanson-R,  a candidate for 74th District state representative to replace retiring Rep. Donald Moffitt, made an appearance.  He told board members, “I don’t intend to go to Springfield as that second career, I’m not going to accept the pension and i’m not going to accept the health care.”

Swanson Starts Run with "Listening Tour"

By Marty Hobe

The Register-Mail

Posted Sep. 25, 2015 at 4:56 PM

    GALESBURG — Republican hopeful Dan Swanson made his formal announcement to run for the Illinois House seat to be vacated by state Rep. Don on Moffitt Friday at the Lincoln Park gazebo.
Swanson told the crowd he’s on a listening tour to get ideas and hear concerns of the residents of the 74th Legislative District, jumping out as the first candidate to announce a run for the position. 
“I’m starting this campaign early,”   Swanson said. “I’m going to be at the tip of the sword and I want to get my name out there and recognition before all the noise starts to happen within the party.”
His top three priorities heading into the campaign season are veterans affairs, education and the budget, of which he supports Gov. Bruce Rauner’s financial goals. 
“I support the governor's plan. He’s got a lot of initiatives out there,” Swanson said. “He’s the guy in charge, he’s a businessman. I support the governor’s programs.”
For education, Swanson targeted unfunded mandates, saying, “Let the legislators legislate and the educators educate.”
Swanson is a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army, and touted his experience on the Henry County Veterans Assistance Commission, along with his 27 years in the service, including a tour in Iraq. Along with protecting veterans, Swanson added he will work to protect the local National Guard locations in the district. 
When asked what his first piece of legislation would be if elected, Swanson said he doesn't know yet. 
“I guess I’ll find out on my listening tour,” he said. “I’ve got my ideas but I’ve got to look at what are the highest priorities in the 74th District. It’s not always going to be my ideas, it’s going to be the ideas of the people in the district.”
Connie Vail, who served with Swanson on the AlWood Board of Education, praised him for the time they served together. 
“Dan was well liked and an easy board member to work with,” she said. “He took the time to listen to both sides of any issue and he educated himself and the other board members of facts that he found available.”
Retired minister and Orion Precinct Committeeman Don Goembel celebrated Swanson as well, quoting Plato, who spoke about inferior politicians. 
“There’s a lot of inferiors, in my opinion, in politics,” he said. “I can name a few but I won’t. Dan is not an inferior.”
Though Swanson had his supporters out, he likely has a long road ahead of him. The Illinois Republican Party has not decided whether to back him, he said, and probably won’t until after the primary election. 
That primary election could be the toughest one Swanson faces, as Democrats have struggled in the 74th District and did not field a candidate in 2014. 
When the Democrats have run, they faced an uphill battle against Moffitt. In 2012 he defeated Gus Junior handily with nearly 65 percent of the vote, and in 2010 he edged out Elizabeth Double by an even wider margin with 76 percent. 
Moffitt has been a local favorite for some time, however, so it is unclear if a newcomer would have that same success. 
Swanson said he did confide in Moffitt for advice, and though he did not receive a formal endorsement he did get some “words of encouragement.”
“Just as I’m sure he would give to any other candidate who he speaks to,” he added.
Moffitt will finish out his term, which ends after 2016. Should he win, Swanson would take over for the 74th District in January 2017.


WRMJ Interview: Swanson Announces For Moffit’s State Rep. Seat

September 26th, 2015

WRMJ News Director Jim Taylor spoke with Retired Army Lt. Colonel Dan Swanson of Alpha on Friday. Swanson is the first candidate to step forward in the race to replace retiring State Representative Don Moffitt in Illinois’ 74th House District, which includes all of Mercer County. Swanson made his announcement yesterday at Aledo Central Park.


National Guard Vet Running for State Representative 

By T.J. CARSON • NOV 4, 2015 

Dan Swanson says he supports conservative constitutional values and the right to bear arms.  

A veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard is making a run for the State Legislature as a Republican.

Dan Swanson of Alpha is the 2nd  1st person to declare his candidacy for State Representative in the 74th District. Knox County GOP Chairman Wayne Saline is the other who has officially declared.

Swanson served on the AlWood School Board for 17 years from 1992-2009, and spent two years after that on the Henry County Board.  He said his military career included tours in Iraq for recruiting and training soldiers.

Swanson said he was inspired to run for the Legislature by the person who currently serves the district, Republican Don Moffitt of Gilson.

“Having worked with Don closely on several different parades and other events and things, I really admire the public servants who do that, who are willing to step up and do that. I served my local level on the board of education and on the county board. I served for my country while on active duty in the military. And now I feel it’s time to serve my state,” Swanson said.

Swanson said he wants to continue work on issues that were important to Moffitt, which include ensuring there is funding for training and caring for emergency responders and veterans. He said the lack of a state budget could harm funding for them.

Swanson said he’s also concerned about the state budget, saying the state has been spending money it doesn't have.

“We’ve been doing that at our state level for so long, and we’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul in too many cases,” Swanson said.

Swanson would use attrition to reduce the budget, instead of cuts, along with taking a strict, conservative approach. He also described Illinois as a “lawsuit state,” and would look at Tort reform. You can listen to the interview here:






Political advertisement paid for and approved by Friends of Dan Swanson
Paid for by Friends of Dan Swanson
Campaign Websites by Online Candidate