5th District Peoria City Council race heats up

By Denise Jackson

February 11, 2013 Updated Feb 12, 2013 at 2:00 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- An incumbent Peoria city council member raises conflict of interest charges against one of his 5th district opponents.

Unlike in his first campaign, 5th District Peoria City Council member Dan Irving failed to win an endorsement from the Business Pac Committee for re-election.

Instead, the endorsement went to opponent Casey Johnson. Irving questions whether that is acceptable because Johnson's campaign Manager, Rick Russo, is a member of the Business Pac Committee.

"I don't have any of my campaign people on the biz pac. I can't make decisions for my opponent or anybody that works on his campaign. I was surprised to see that happen," he said.

"It's more unfortunate that the tone of the campaign is going that direction. My focus is really looking forward within the city and really looking to engage business owners and constituents," said Johnson.

Diana Hall, vice Chairperson of the Business Pac Committee, said there is no conflict of interest, adding the group makes decisions based on what is best for the business community.

"You go through the process of interviewing and then you make a decision based on what you feel would be best for the business pac in this case and that's what we did," she said.

Dan Irving says his track record speaks for itself, adding he is pro business and pro economic development.

In 2010, Irving was charged with domestic battery against his then estranged wife . Irving agreed to a plea deal with the Peoria County State's attorney. In 2012, he was charged with patronizing a prostitute but the state's attorney dropped those charges.

When asked if those incidents might have tarnished his image, Irving said he could not answer.

"Divorces happen, they're not a pleasant thing. Sometimes people say and do things. Things were said and done towards me that were not true," he said.

Despite the loss of endorsement, Irving says he has received support from other leaders and looks forward to facing opponents in an upcoming candidates forum.

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