If early voting numbers are any indicator, McHenry County voters are itching to make some big choices.
About 10,000 county residents had voted early as of noon Monday, with hours yet to go before the 10 stations closed before Tuesday’s primary. That number is about triple the previous record, McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan said.
Illinois voters long have wanted to have a presidential primary that had not yet been decided by mid-March – one in which the state’s voice would matter. That wish has been granted, for Democrats and Republicans alike, and the big day is here.
Voters of both parties will decide who will represent them in the Nov. 8 election. From top to bottom, voters have some important decisions to make.
Republican voters will pick whether they want Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich or Marco Rubio as their presidential nominee, while Democratic voters have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk faces a primary challenge from James Marter, while U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Andrea Zopp and state Sen. Napoleon Harris are in a three-way race to be the candidate to try to retake the seat in November. Kirk is considered to be the most vulnerable GOP senator this election year.
Voters in the 6th Congressional District also have choices. Republicans will choose between incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam and challenger Gordon Kinzler. Democrats Amanda Howland and Robert Marshall are running for their party’s nod.
While GOP voters in the 14th Congressional District don’t have a contested primary – Rep. Randy Hultgren is running unopposed – Democratic candidates John Hosta, Jesse Maggitt and Jim Walz are in a three-way race to go up against him in November.
Voters in several Illinois House and Senate districts have some contested primaries to decide as well.
The three-way Republican race to succeed retiring state Rep. Mike Tryon in the 66th Illinois House District has become the race to watch in McHenry County.
Candidates Allen Skillicorn, Dan Wilbrandt and Carolyn Schofield are running for the seat. A fourth, Paul Serwatka, dropped out of the race, although his name still will appear on the ballot. The winner will face Democratic challenger Nancy Zettler in November – she is running unopposed in the primary.
While Democrats don’t have a candidate running in the 26th Illinois Senate District, Republican voters will settle a three-way race.
In the 63rd Illinois House District, Republican Steven Reick is running against Jeffery Lichte to see who will run in November against Democratic incumbent Jack Franks, who is running unopposed in the primary.
While Democratic voters don’t have any contested races at the county level, they abound for Republicans.
Incumbent McHenry County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller faces a challenge from board member Michael Walkup, who also is running for re-election to his board seat so he still can vote on issues under state law. This is the first election in which voters will directly elect the chairman, after a successful 2014 referendum.
Republican voters will choose a state’s attorney candidate between Patrick Kenneally and Dan Regna, and choose from a three-way field of Joe Tirio, Joni Smith and Tina Hill for county recorder. State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi and Recorder Phyllis Walters are not seeking re-election.
All six County Board districts have contested GOP primaries for the two open seats in each. In November, each one but District 4 will face a Democratic challenger.
The Democratic Party of McHenry County expects after the primary to caucus in several additional candidates for county races, party Chairman Michael Bissett said.