Local Election

New McHenry County Board candidates mean another contested GOP primary

A second McHenry County Board district is on track to have a contested Republican primary.

District 1 incumbent Robert Nowak, R-Cary, has pulled a petition, meaning there are likely three candidates running in the March 18 primary for two open seats. Andrew Gasser, a Fox River Grove blogger and president of a tea party group that helps advise leaders on space policy, has announced his candidacy, and former Barrington Hills trustee Elaine Ramesh has pulled a petition.

All 12 incumbent County Board members who are up for election next year – 10 Republicans and both of its Democratic members – have pulled petitions or announced their candidacies.

The other district with a contested GOP primary race so far is District 3. Incumbent Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, is running, and former County Board member Mary Donner and District 47 school board member Nancy Gonsiorek have pulled petitions. It could be a four-way race – former Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Jansen has pulled a petition, but is not yet sure whether she will run.

District 3 incumbent Mary McClellan, R-Holiday Hills, is running instead for county clerk against fellow District 3 representative Nick Provenzano, R-McHenry, and county clerk employee Keith Addison of Hebron. County Clerk Katherine Schultz, first elected in 1990, is not seeking a seventh term.

District 1 covers southern and eastern Algonquin townships and a sliver of Grafton Township, including all or most of Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove and Barrington Hills. District 3 includes all of Nunda Township, southeastern McHenry and northeastern Algonquin townships, including all or parts of Crystal Lake, McHenry, Bull Valley, Prairie Grove, Holiday Hills and Lakemoor.

Democratic board members Nick Chirikos, R-Algonquin, and Paula Yensen, D-Lake in the Hills, are running for their respective District 1 and District 5 seats, meaning those races will be contested in November.

The county sheriff's race will be contested in November as well. The winner of the GOP primary between Undersheriff Andy Zinke and retired Des Plaines Police Cmdr. Bill Prim will face a November challenge from independent candidate Jim Harrison, a labor attorney and former sheriff's deputy.

Another contested countywide GOP primary will be that of county treasurer – Chief Deputy Treasurer Glenda Miller and Crystal Lake City Council member Jeff Thorsen have announced.

Like Schultz, Sheriff Keith Nygren and Treasurer Bill LeFew have announced they are not seeking re-election. Nygren and LeFew both took office in 1997.

County voters next year will also elect one U.S. senator, their representatives in the Illinois and U.S. houses of representatives, and all statewide constitutional offices.

Voters in the 33rd Senate District will elect their state senator – Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, drew a two-year term after the 2012 election in the wake of redistricting after the 2010 U.S. Census. She is running for re-election.

Voters in the 65th House District will elect a new representative – Rep. Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia, is not seeking another term. The district, a new addition to McHenry County under redistricting, includes only a sliver of the county, stretching from Huntley and Sun City south through Elgin to Batavia.

The 63rd House District that covers most of McHenry County will also be contested in November. Incumbent Jack Franks, D-Marengo, will face Republican challenger Steven Reick, of rural Harvard.

McHenry County voters in March will weigh in on a binding referendum asking whether the County Board chairman should be popularly elected, as is done in most other collar counties.

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

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