A deeply partisan divide over the future of our nation, coupled with a state in deep fiscal crisis, could make the 2012 election a political watershed.
Add legislative remapping to the already volatile mix, and the election is sure to be one heck of a political ride.
The choices for the county’s Republican voters begin in earnest with the March 20 primary. They will pick who they feel are the best candidates for contested races for president, two General Assembly districts and five of the McHenry County Board’s six districts.
Much of the fight for the county’s Democratic voters will take place Nov. 6. The only contested races they will decide March 20 will be for the county’s congressional district nominees.
Regardless of political affiliation, all county voters face new representation in Congress and many face new representation in Springfield because of maps redrawn after the 2010 U.S. Census. As a result, all seats on the General Assembly and the County Board are up for grabs this year.
If partisan politics isn’t your thing, just about every voter in the county will be asked whether they want their local governments to pursue cheaper residential electrical rates.
The following is a list of the county’s contested races and referendums. Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot:
McHenry County’s representation in Washington and Springfield changes drastically under the redistricting maps drawn by Springfield Democrats who, with control of the General Assembly and the governor’s office, did not need Republican votes.
All of McHenry County except Algonquin Township will be in the 14th Congressional District, which will cover parts of the collar counties, and Kendall and DeKalb counties.
Democratic voters will have to choose between Dennis Anderson of Gurnee and Jonathan Farnick of Woodstock. Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren of Winfield is running unopposed.
Algonquin Township will be in the 6th District, which covers parts of Lake, Cook, Kane and DuPage counties. Three Democratic candidates – Leslie Coolidge of Barrington Hills, Geoffrey Petzel of Lake Zurich and Maureen Yates of Barrington – are running. A fourth candidate, Tim Ritter of Cary, was removed from the ballot.
Republican incumbent Peter Roskam of Wheaton is running unopposed.
Although GOP voters will have six choices for president, only four still are running – Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Rick Perry has dropped out, as has Charles “Buddy” Roemer III, who now is running as a Reform Party candidate.
Under the remapping, the 16th and 8th districts, represented by Republican incumbents Don Manzullo and Joe Walsh, no longer will cover McHenry County.
The post-census map divides McHenry County among five House and three Senate districts. One House district and one Senate district have contested primaries.
Republican voters in the 52nd House District have a three-way race among current Rep. Kent Gaffney of Lake Barrington and challengers David McSweeney and Danielle Rowe. Gaffney was appointed to fill the remaining term of Mark Beaubien, who died in June.
The 52nd District covers southeastern McHenry County, including parts of Lake in the Hills, Algonquin and Cary, and parts of Lake, Cook and Kane counties.
The 33rd Senate District features a two-way GOP race between Kane County Board Chairwoman Karen McConnaughay and Cliff Surges of Gilberts. Former candidate Craig Powers withdrew from the race.
The 33rd covers parts of southeastern McHenry and northern Kane counties, including parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and Huntley.
McHenry County’s remaining General Assembly districts under the remap – the 26th and 32nd Senate and the 63rd, 64th, 65th and 66th House districts – do not have contested primaries.
All 59 Senate and 118 House seats are up because of redistricting.
The County Board’s political map did not change much under redistricting. Fifteen of the county’s 212 precincts will be in new districts.
Republican voters in Districts 2 through 6 will have to narrow their slate to four candidates running for four open seats.
In District 2, which covers northwestern Algonquin and northeastern Grafton townships, candidates Carolyn Schofield, James Heisler, Ken Koehler, Thomas Wilbeck and Donna Kurtz are running. Heisler, Koehler and Kurtz are incumbents.
District 3, which includes Nunda, southern McHenry and northeastern Algonquin townships, has eight candidates running for four seats. They are Mary McClellan, Mary Donner, Joe Gottemoller, Mary Alger, Nick Provenzano, Lyn Orphal, Jim Schlader and Michael Walkup. Donner and Provenzano are incumbents.
Six GOP candidates are running in District 4, which covers northern McHenry Township, and Richmond and Burton townships: Sandra Fay Salgado, Edward Varga, John Hammerand, Robert Martens, Sue Draffkorn and Linda Kvidera Murphy. Salgado, Hammerand and Draffkorn are incumbents.
In District 5, which covers Dorr and central Grafton townships, incumbent Republicans John Jung, Tina Hill and Virginia Peschke, and challengers Michael Rein and Michael Skala, are running.
Ten candidates are running for District 6, which covers McHenry County’s rural western half. Candidates are Mary McCann, Shawn Green, David LaGue, Diane Evertsen, Rachel Smith, Ersel Schuster, Michele Aavang, J. Vincent Ranzino, Michael Stanard and Corey Brackmann.
All 24 County Board seats are up because of redistricting.
Voters in most county municipalities, as well as unincorporated McHenry County, will vote on whether to allow their governments to bundle them together to shop competitively for cheaper electric rates through deregulation.
The question will go before voters in Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Cary, Crystal Lake, Huntley, Island Lake, Johnsburg, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood, Marengo, McCullom Lake, McHenry, Prairie Grove, Ringwood, Spring Grove, Wonder Lake and Woodstock. The County Board has put the question on the ballot of unincorporated residents.
All of these governments except for Barrington Hills, Crystal Lake, Prairie Grove and the incorporated portion of Wonder Lake will form a consortium to shop for electricity, should their respective voters authorize it.
Taxing and borrowing
Voters in Fox River Grove will be asked whether the village can increase the sales tax to 7.25 percent from 7 percent.
If approved, the increase will fund downtown infrastructure improvements. The tax would amount to an extra 25 cents in sales tax for every $100 spent in the village.
Dunham Township will ask its voters whether it can borrow $1 million for resurfacing and repairing roads.
On the Net
About voting: Visit the McHenry County Clerk's website at www.co.mchenry.il.us/departments/countyclerk to view sample ballots and learn about early voting and grace-period voting (you can still vote if you haven't registered).
About redistricting: Visit shawurl.com/6r5 to view interactive maps of the new districts for U.S. House of Representatives and the Illinois General Assembly. Visit shawurl.com/4q2 to view an interactive map of the new McHenry County Board districts.