- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

VIENNA, Ill. (AP) - Democratic leaders in southern Illinois’ Johnson County have decided who will take the ballot spot of a candidate who died while running to succeed the longest-serving sheriff in Illinois history.

Retired Illinois Department of Corrections employee Norman Suits was chosen to be on the November ballot.

He replaces his friend, 57-year-old Jay Merchant, a former Vienna Correctional Center warden who died of a heart attack in March about a week after winning the party’s nomination in the primary.

Suits now will face Republican and part-time sheriff’s deputy Charles Harner in November in the race to succeed Elry Faulkner, who is retiring after 40 years as sheriff.

Suits says combatting the methamphetamine trafficking in the county will be among his priorities.

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