Meet the candidates for State’s Attorney

Corryn Brock, News Editor

The Coles County State’s Attorney race is seeing two familiar faces as candidates.

The incumbent, Jesse Danley was appointed in late 2018 after his predecessor Brian Bower assumed his current position as a Coles County judge.

Danley was appointed in a 9-1 vote by the county board with the only member of the board who did not vote for Danley being Rick Shook who is currently running for re-election for the Coles County Board.

Danley’s opponent, Todd Reardon, also applied to fill the vacancy and has run in the past for the office of state’s attorney.

The two were set to have a last-minute debate on Oct. 22.

The various parties involved all have different accounts for why the event was canceled with an unclear answer for why the event was actually canceled.

Both men agreed to debate in an event hosted by Dustin Hay, a community member who has shown clear support for Reardon via Facebook, but the debate was canceled after issues arose surrounding the moderator and timing of the event.



Danley is originally from Carterville, Illinois and moved to Coles County in 2012.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and attended the Southern Illinois University for his law degree.

Danley was an assistant state’s attorney from 2012-2016 and public defender from 2017-2019 until he became Interim State’s Attorney.

Danley is married to a Mattoon native and the couple has two children.

He has received endorsements from other candidates in the area like State Representative Chris Miller (R-110), candidate for the 15th Congressional District Mary Miller and State Senator Dale Righter (R-55).

Danley said cracking down on drug-related crimes will be one of his top priorities if he is elected, specifically heroin.

“Heroin is by far the biggest problem in Coles County as of right now,” Danley said. “You really have to separate between drug dealers and drug users and sometimes that’s difficult.”

Danley said he would like to put a focus on enforcing drug-induced homicide statutes and let people know “(they are responsible for the poison (they) put in the community.”

He added he believes a decrease in drug sales will reduce crime in other areas, specifically theft and violent weapons charges.

Danley said he would also like to work on the office’s role in educating you people.

He said he wants to get in schools and interact with the youth and have the state’s attorney office be something Coles County youth are aware and want to learn more about in a positive manner.

He said he can see areas of needed improvement for juvenile cases.

“We’ve got a great juvenile judge right now but there’s a lot of room for improvement from my office,” Danley said.

For younger individuals in Charleston, Danley said he often tells them, “I hope I see them out in the street but not professionally.”



Reardon said he is also concerned with the State’s Attorney Office’s work with juvenile cases.

He said he believes they do not move quickly enough in a situation that is pressing for those involved.

Reardon said that it speaks to the larger issues of inefficiencies at the courthouse and why he wants to “straighten out the inefficiencies of the courthouse.”

Reardon said after working in several courthouses as a defense attorney throughout the state, he can see various areas he would like to improve the organization and productivity of.

“Having been in 68 different counties you get a good observation of how other counties do it and some do it better than ours, in fact a lot of them,” Reardon said.

Reardon also said he wants to see the State’s Attorney Office utilize grand juries over the probable cause method for filing charges.

He said using grand juries would save the time of officers and the court and he believes it would be less expensive that the probable cause method in the long run.

Reardon has been a licensed attorney for 23 years and has owned his own law practice for the nearly the same amount of time.

He is a Mattoon native and Eastern graduate. He also received his law degree from Southern Illinois University.

Reardon has been endorsed by the EIU College Republicans, Coles County Progressives and a new group called Republicans for Todd Reardon.

Both candidates expressed interest in reducing the State’s Attorney Office’s spending to save the county money.


Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]