Mary McClellan inched closer to becoming the next McHenry County clerk, easily securing the Republican nomination over fellow County Board member Nick Provenzano on Tuesday.
McClellan captured the countywide nomination with 56.5 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the McHenry County Clerk’s Office. She maintained that margin for most of the night.
McClellan now will run unopposed in the November general election unless the county’s Democratic Party selects a candidate and gets the needed signatures.
She would replace retiring Clerk Katherine Schultz, who has led the office for the past 24 years.
“I’m humbled and I’m excited,” McClellan said. “I hope to fill Kathie’s shoes with the same leadership, integrity and diligence she has shown all of us here in McHenry County.”
McClellan, a Holiday Hills resident who was first elected to the County Board in 2012, secured the victory by collecting 15,721 votes. Nearly 27,820 ballots were cast in the race.
Provenzano conceded and told the Northwest Herald he was proud his campaign kept a positive message and criticized McClellan for striking a negative tone in campaign mailers and automated robocalls to voters.
“We are very proud of the positive campaign that we ran,” Provenzano said. “We delivered a very strong, positive message to voters. We chose not to go negative and attack, and she did.”
He would not comment on whether he would support McClellan as the Republican nominee.
McClellan defended herself, saying her campaign message was based on Provenzano’s record as an elected official.
Both candidates had been representing District 3 on the County Board. McClellan touted her integrity as a top qualification to lead the clerk’s office while on the campaign.
McClellan, an attorney from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, said her experiences as a single mother through law school and elected office would serve county residents well.
She highlighted ways to modernize the clerk’s office, steamline certain processes and build on the office’s reputation that Schultz helped develop throughout the years.
Provenzano, a veteran incumbent from McHenry who started serving on the County Board in 2002, also wanted to modernize the clerk’s office with improved election technology and ballot access.
He pledged to run a tight office budget after advocating for years to keep the county’s tax levy flat while on the County Board. Provenzano also brought his political pedigree to the campaign.
He now serves as a district representative to Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, after helping former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh secure his only term in office in 2010.
Provenzano did not give up his County Board seat to run for clerk. He has two more years on his term, which expires in 2016.
Aside from manning elections, the county clerk’s office manages vital records like birth, death and marriage certificates.
The office also helps determine how much property tax revenue the county’s various taxing bodies can receive under the law by calculating the total assessed valuation of McHenry County.