DIXON – Mayor Li Arellano Jr. will not be running for the 45th District state senate seat because of new city and business challenges, he announced Sunday night.
The 36-year-old Iraq War veteran and owner of Jimmy John’s in Dixon and Rock Falls announced his candidacy in September to fill retiring Republican state Sen. Tim Bivins’ spot but has decided not to file for the March 20 primary.
“In the months since I announced my intent to run, there have been a number of changes at both the city of Dixon and within my businesses,” he said in a statement announcing his withdrawal from the race. “As a result, the demands on my time have increased as I address several new challenges.”
Arellano, a Republican, was elected the city’s first Hispanic mayor in 2015 and its first under the new city-manager form of government, a change made following former city Comptroller Rita Crundwell’s $53.7 million embezzlement scandal.
As of Sunday, state Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Freeport, is the only candidate to file for the 45th District. He announced his run in September.
Stewart was appointed to the 89th District in 2013, replacing retiring Rep. Jim Sacia. He was elected in 2014 and 2016.
“Those challenges, combined with my appreciation for Brian Stewart as a capable candidate, led me to decide that a long primary battle was not the best choice in this race,” Arellano said. “I do feel called to serve with those attempting to repair our state. Right now, though, I believe fulfilling my responsibilities to the citizens of Dixon, my family and my employees no longer leaves enough personal time to run a campaign.”
The 45th District includes parts of Carroll, Lee, Ogle, Whiteside, Stephenson, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, and Winnebago counties.
Bivins announced in June that he will not seek a fourth term in office.