Winnebago County Republican Party Chairman Eli Nicolosi said he plans to formally announce his campaign to run against Syverson on July 19.
The Rockford resident filed paperwork to register Friends of Eli Nicolosi with the Illinois Board of Elections on Tuesday. The stated purpose of the committee is to elect Nicolosi to the 35th district of the Illinois Senate, the seat occupied by Syverson since 1993.
“The only thing I will confirm is that I did submit papers on the State Board of Elections website,” Nicolosi said Saturday. “It’s pretty easy to draw a conclusion, but I would like to give an official announcement.”
The two Republicans will face off in the state’s primary election June 28. The general election will be held Nov. 8.
Nicolosi, 42, served on the Winnebago County Board from 2014 until 2018. He has been chairman of the Winnebago County Republican Party since 2020.
The Illinois Senate’s 35th District includes sections of Winnebago, Boone, DeKalb, Kane and McHenry counties.
Syverson, who has served in the Illinois Senate since 1993, said he’s not “overly surprised” by Nicolosi’s challenge.
“Obviously, the seat belongs to the people in the district, so anyone can run for it,” Syverson said. “It certainly is up to him if he wants to do that.”
Syverson, 64, said he will run on his record, which he said includes passage of hundreds of bills, including property tax caps and ethics reform legislation. A gaming bill, which included a Rockford casino license and was approved by the General Assembly, was sponsored by Syverson.
Hard Rock Casino Rockford’s application to operate a casino on East State Street near Interstate 90 is pending before the Illinois Gaming Board.
Syverson said he’s most proud of his constituent service.
“We help hundreds of people every month deal with their issues with the state,” he said. “The work we do on behalf of helping people through those processes, that’s probably the most rewarding part because it’s actually touching people’s lives.”