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Zinke not bowing out against Prim; Harrison ready for November

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 3:55 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:45 p.m. CST

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McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was staying quiet on his immediate plans the day after Bill Prim took the Republican nod for McHenry County sheriff.

After early votes were counted, Prim, a retired Des Plaines police commander, edged Zinke by 98 votes.

Prim declined an interview Tuesday night, and multiple follow-up requests for a post-election win interview were not returned.

Zinke said it was still too early to give the win to Prim, who declared victory before his supporters Tuesday night. Zinke still wasn’t ready to concede Wednesday, believing there were more votes to be counted.

“We’ll wait until all the votes are cast, and we’ll take it from there,” Zinke said.

McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz confirmed there are 47 late absentee ballots outstanding – not enough to square up the race.

Any late absentee ballots postmarked by the date of the election have two weeks to arrive at the clerk’s office to be counted. At that time, any provisional ballots would be tabulated as well.

Schultz said there typically are a few provisional ballots, or those that have been questioned in some way – either if there is no record of the voter, the person’s voting status has been challenged, or there was an error in the registration process.

“There are provisional ballots out there,” she said. “But it wouldn’t be anywhere near those figures [needed to tie the race]. If we got 100 provisionals I’d be shocked.”

Zinke has two options, and he hasn’t ruled out either one. He can ask for a discovery recount, which is fairly standard practice, Schultz said. It examines a sampling of precincts to see if there is anything that could potentially lead to a change in results.

Less common is a court-ordered full recount, which is the only way to change the outcome of the election.

Prim now will likely face a general election challenge by Woodstock-based labor attorney Jim Harrison, who debunked speculation that he would drop out.

“I hate to crush the Bill Prim campaign’s hopes. I’m not dropping out,” he said. “It wouldn’t matter which [candidate] won. I’m in.”

Harrison, 56, of Johnsburg, said Tuesday’s split vote signifies that voters want change, but also point to a fractured Republican Party.

“Certainly this is once instance where nearly as many voters supported one candidate or the other,” he said. “I’m not sure the Republican Party is at a consensus yet, although they’ve certainly picked a candidate.”

State Democrats had few choices on Tuesday’s ballots. According to McHenry County returns that do not include early votes, 3,314 voters pulled a Democratic ballot. That could mean either Democrats crossed party lines, or simply didn’t show up.

Schultz said voter turnout was just below 17 percent.

Harrison on Monday can begin collecting the more than 6,000 signatures he needs to be on the November ballot as an independent candidate. Prim and Zinke each needed 517 signatures.

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