SALINE COUNTY -- Saline County Republicans on Wednesday nominated a Harrisburg businesswoman to fill the county clerk seat left vacant by the passing of Roger Craig.
Jimi Williams-Cox, the sister of county board Chairman Jay Williams, is the county Republicans' choice in a process county Republican chairman Bob Holmes said was conducted in a fair, professional manner.
"We had seven people who were interested," Holmes said. "They came in and we gave them 10 minutes apiece. We had them draw a number out of a bowl and then went down the line."
Incidentally, Holmes said, Williams-Cox drew No. 1.
"Each one talked to the committee people. Some brought resumes and told about their experience. The precinct committeemen also had a question time during that 10 minutes. And after all seven candidates talked, we voted and counted the votes," Holmes said. "Actually, I have the authority to make the choice myself, but I felt it was better for all the precinct committeemen to have a vote in the decision."
Williams-Cox owns and operates Williams Hill Pass OHV Park and Campground, south of Harrisburg.
She also is the sister of current county board President Jay Williams. However, Holmes said any claims of nepotism would be unfounded.
"People like to say maybe some kind of deal was cut, but that's not the case. And Jay has nothing to do with our decision," he said. "I want the public to know there was no deal cut whatsoever. I don't deal. I'm straightforward."
Holmes said 24 precinct committeemen voted, in addition to two proxy votes.
Holmes now must formally take the nomination to the county board, and Jay Williams will set a date for a special meeting to vote on the replacement.
Given his relationship to Williams-Cox, after he makes the nomination Jay Williams will recuse himself and have board vice chairman Mike McKinnies conduct the vote.
If Williams-Cox is not accepted, then the party would need to repeat the process to produce a new nominee.
The person approved by the board will serve only a two-year term.
The seat will be up for election again in 2020, for a regular four-year term.
Holmes said the process the party uses is responsible, accountable government.
"I wanted to make the precinct committeemen part of the team. That's how you keep things working together," he said. "I didn't want any hard feelings. That's why we didn't announce the numbers, just the name of the winner. And I'm just one vote."