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Democratic primaries emerge under new map

Democratic voters will be the only ones in McHenry County who will have contested congressional races in the March 20 primary, provided candidates survive petition challenges.

With the end of the congressional filing period Tuesday, both the 6th and the 14th Congressional Districts will have contested Democratic primaries. The 14th District under the new post-census remap will cover all of McHenry County except for Algonquin Township, which will be in the 6th District.

Four Democratic candidates are fighting in the 6th District for the opportunity to take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, in November. Those candidates are Leslie Coolidge of Barrington Hills, Geoffrey Petzel of Lake Zurich, Tim Ritter of Cary, and Maureen Yates of Barrington. The new 6th District includes much of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin, Cary and Fox River Grove, as well as parts of Lake, Cook, Kane and DuPage counties.

In the 14th District, Democratic challengers Dennis Anderson of Gurnee and Jonathan Farnick of Woodstock have filed, with the winner taking on incumbent freshman U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield. The 14th will include parts of all the collar counties, as well as much of Kendall and a sliver of DeKalb counties.

Farnick tried to run in the 2010 Democratic primary against then-U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Barrington, but his petition was successfully challenged because it fell about 100 signatures short. The deadline to file challenges to congressional candidacy petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections is Jan. 4.

Anderson and Farnick replace former McHenry Alderman Frank McClatchey, who dropped out of the race after tea party firebrand U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-McHenry, changed his mind and chose to run for re-election in the 8th District. Walsh’s earlier decision to run in the 14th District, rather than the relocated and Democrat-friendlier 8th District, set up the undesirable scenario for Republicans of an incumbent-on-incumbent primary.

Walsh’s run for the 8th District prompted two of the three announced GOP candidates – Darlene Ruscitti and Andrew Palomo – to step down. Ruscitti announced her withdrawal last week, and Palomo announced his early Tuesday. Walsh will have a contested primary against Republican candidates Robert Canfield of Palatine and Richard Evans of Wheaton, but Walsh has a tremendous advantage in name recognition and campaign financing.

Eighth District Democratic voters will have to choose between former Deputy State Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi and former Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs director and Iraq war pilot Tammy Duckworth. Krishnamoorthi filed on Friday, the first day to file, and Duckworth filed Tuesday. The 8th District will cover northwestern Cook, northern DuPage and far northeastern Kane counties.

The 16th District, represented by longtime U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Egan, no longer will include McHenry County under the new map. Manzullo will face the incumbent-vs.-incumbent scenario that Hultgren escaped – Manzullo and freshman U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno, filed to run for the 16th District, which will cover 14 counties in a loop around the Chicago area from Boone and Winnebago counties to the Indiana border.

Democrats in Springfield drew a congressional map aimed at eliminating the GOP’s suburban congressional gains with the 2010 tea party wave. Because Democrats control both the General Assembly and the governor’s office, they could draw the maps without Republican votes. An unsuccessful Republican federal court challenge pushed the filing period back about three weeks.

Illinois will have 18 representatives in the U.S. House over the next decade – it lost a seat to faster-growing states after the 2010 U.S. Census.

Republican primary voters in McHenry County will have contested primaries for five of the McHenry County Board’s six districts, but GOP candidates for state’s attorney, auditor, circuit clerk, recorder and coroner are running unopposed. The Democratic Party is fielding candidates in all six districts, but not enough for contested primary races – all 24 County Board seats are up for election because of redistricting.

Republican voters in the 52nd Illinois House District and the 33rd Illinois Senate District, both of which cover parts of McHenry County, will have contested primaries of three candidates each.

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