CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — State Representative Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) announced that she will be applying to fill the Senate seat previously held by Senator Scott Bennett.

Bennett died unexpectedly on Dec. 9 from a brain tumor. His memorial service was held Monday at the University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, a ceremony that was attended by Governor J.B. Pritzker, State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, Senate President Don Harmon and others. Ammons was unable to attend the ceremony due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Ammons believes her record in the House of Representatives proves she is suitable to be his successor.

“While I’m deeply saddened by the passing of my colleague, and friend, Senator Scott Bennett, it is with deep reverence for the work that we did together, that I seek the appointment to the 52nd Senate vacancy,” Ammons said. “In honor of the late Senator Bennett, and to address the needs of the 52nd District, it is paramount that his successor be someone with a proven track record of passing legislation that addresses the needs of the people and institutions in the 52nd District.” 

The decision over who replaces Bennett falls to the Democratic Party Chairs of Champaign and Vermillion County, but Champaign’s Democratic Party will ultimately have way more weight in the decision. The total number of votes is split based on the number of voters from each county in the most recent primary election. Champaign County had far more votes in the Primary than Vermillion County, and since there are only two counties in the district, Champaign County Democratic Party chair Mike Ingram will ultimately make the decision.

If a Republican previously held a seat, then the Republican Party chair of each county would get to pick.

The Illinois Constitution lays out that appointments must be made within 30 days of the seat becoming vacant. The deadline for the 52nd District is January 8th.

If Ammons is chosen, then the Champaign Democratic Party would also need to appoint a replacement to her seat in the House of Representatives, but the 30-day counter would start over.

The General Assembly is scheduled to return Jan. 4th.