Longtime McHenry County Treasurer Bill LeFew is calling it quits after his term expires next year, possibly setting the stage for a second contested Republican primary for countywide office.
LeFew announced to county GOP leaders late last month that he will not seek re-election in 2014, according to letters obtained by the Northwest Herald. He wrote that he needs to devote his full attention to his Harvard insurance company, LeFew Insurance Group, which has been enjoying significant growth. LeFew said in his letters and in a Monday interview that the growing workload is the sole motivation for his decision.
“My insurance agency with American Family continues to grow at double-digit rates, and it’s just gotten to the point where I need to spend full time there,” LeFew said Monday afternoon.
LeFew has served as treasurer since Jan. 1, 1997, about two months after then-County Board Chairwoman Dianne Klemm appointed him to fill the remaining term of retiring Treasurer William Ward. He was Harvard mayor at the time, and before that had served as an alderman and as a member and president of the District 50 school board.
LeFew is the second countywide officeholder to not seek re-election next year. A contentious Republican primary already has shaped up over who will replace outgoing Sheriff Keith Nygren.
Mike Tryon, McHenry County Republican Party chairman, said that LeFew has a lot to be proud of and that his expertise will be missed.
“I think when you look at what Bill’s accomplished – taking the treasurer’s office through substantial reorganization and automation and software and all of the things he was leading – I think he’s had a phenomenal career,” Tryon said. “He’s been looking for a while whether another four years is a best bet.”
Tryon said that Chief Deputy Treasurer Glenda Miller, who has served in the capacity since shortly after LeFew took office, has expressed interest in running. Miller, who is secretary of the county party and a Chemung Township trustee, confirmed Monday that she is considering a run.
LeFew also formerly held the county GOP chairman post. He did not seek re-election to the top spot in 2008 amid controversy over the contested state’s attorney primary. LeFew backed challenger Dan Regna over incumbent Lou Bianchi, who handily beat him. Opponents of LeFew alleged that his actions – which included anonymously mailing out literature critical of Bianchi – were damaging to party unity.
The other countywide offices up for election next year are county clerk and regional superintendent of schools, both of which also are held by Republicans. Regional Superintendent Leslie Schermerhorn, who was appointed last year to fill an unexpired term and ran uncontested in November, said during the confirmation process that she would seek re-election. Longtime County Clerk Katherine Schultz, who has held the office since 1990, said Monday that she is still deciding whether to seek another term.