Countdown to the election: It’s 44 days away.

Today we focus on the race to replace Mike Halpin, who is now running for state senate.

The Illinois 72nd District seat that largely represents Rock Island County pits Democrat Gregg Johnson against Republican Tom Martens. Neither has held elected office before.

Johnson reported about $20,000 in cash on hand as of June 30. He spent $64,000 in the second quarter. There’s no evidence Martens filed campaign finance reports with the state. Martens declined to comment when asked about it.

Gregg Johnson was born in Rock Island. He spent 32 years with the Department of Corrections as a corrections officer and supply supervisor. These days he works for a software company that helps labor unions comply with federal agencies. Johnson is a former president of AFSCME Local 46.

Tom Martens, also born in Rock Island, has worked as a military police officer with the Army Reserves. He has an associate degree in law enforcement from Black Hawk College. He spent most of his professional career as an electric motor mechanic.

Both candidates for the Illinois 72nd District seat promise very different approaches if elected.

“We need to continue to invest in infrastructure, because as we continue to bring people into Illinois and into the 72nd District, we need to have a solid infrastructure,” Johnson said.

“We have to fix our election problems that we had in 2020,” Martens said. “We’ve got to get rid of the drop boxes … no more mass early voting.”

Hear what else they have to say when you click on the video.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.