McHenry County candidates start petitions for March primary

WOODSTOCK – Candidates for McHenry County offices are off to the races in the first week that they were allowed to circulate petitions for the March primary.

At least a dozen petitions for County Board and countywide offices had been picked up at the McHenry County Clerk’s Office by Friday. Tuesday was the first day that petitions can be circulated.

County voters next year will elect one U.S. senator, their representatives in the Illinois and U.S. House of Representatives, all statewide constitutional offices, the offices of county treasurer, county clerk, sheriff and regional school superintendent, and 12 of the County Board’s 24 members.

Voters in the March primary will be asked to weigh in on a binding referendum on whether the County Board chairman should be popularly elected, as is done in most other collar counties.

Voters in the 33rd Senate District will elect their state senator, who drew a two-year term after the 2012 election in the wake of redistricting after the 2010 U.S. Census. The 33rd District, represented by Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, covers Grafton and far western Algonquin townships in McHenry County, and extends into northeastern Kane County.

Half of the County Board’s incumbents have pulled petitions: Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake; John Hammerand, R-Wonder Lake; Donna Kurtz, R-Crystal Lake; Michele Aavang, R-Woodstock; and Ersel Schuster, R-Woodstock.

A seventh, Mary McClellan, R-Holiday Hills, pulled a petition for county clerk. McClellan, who was just elected in 2012, said an official announcement is forthcoming. She cited her years working with election law as a civil attorney as to why she would be a good fit for the job.

She would face fellow board member Nick Provenzano, R-McHenry, who announced his candidacy Wednesday. County Clerk Katherine Schultz, who has served since 1990, said Tuesday that she would not seek a seventh term.

“I feel that I bring the integrity necessary to maintain the integrity that has been in the office throughout Kathie’s tenure,” McClellan said.

Three of the four current countywide office-holders – Schultz, Treasurer Bill LeFew and Sheriff Keith Nygren – are not seeking re-election. They have a combined 55 years in office.

Both Republican candidates for county treasurer who have announced their candidacies, Chief Deputy Treasurer Glenda Miller and Crystal Lake City Council member Jeff Thorsen, have pulled petitions. Neither Republican sheriff’s candidate Undersheriff Andy Zinke nor retired Des Plaines Police Cmdr. Bill Prim have yet pulled a petition. Independent candidate Jim Harrison, a labor attorney and former sheriff’s deputy, also has announced.

Several newcomers already have tossed their hats into the ring for County Board.

Republican Michael Rein of Woodstock pulled a petition to run again for County Board District 5, which covers Dorr and central Grafton townships. He lost election last November by fewer than 300 votes. Former Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Jansen, now in private practice, pulled a petition to run as a Republican in District 3, which covers Nunda, southeastern McHenry and northeastern Algonquin townships.

Jansen said Friday that she has not yet decided whether she will run.

Fox River Grove blogger Andrew Gasser has announced his candidacy to run as a Republican in District 1, which covers most of Algonquin Township and southeastern Grafton Township, but he has not yet pulled a petition.

Also pulling a petition last week was Regional Superintendent Leslie Schermerhorn, who has held the office since 2012. A Republican primary challenger for her is very unlikely, given the long list of credentials required under state law to hold the office.

The filing period for petitions is from Nov. 25 through Dec. 2.

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