Local Election

Contested races make Algonquin Township GOP primary a bellwether

The retirement of the supervisor and an effort to end a family’s half-century hold on the highway commissioner’s office makes the Algonquin Township Republican primary an interesting one.

Republican voters in the township will go to the polls Tuesday to select nominees to advance to the April 4 election – only the office of assessor is uncontested, but the lone candidate also is succeeding a longtime incumbent.

Townships have three statutory responsibilities under Illinois law – assess property, maintain township roads and distribute aid to those in need.

The decision of Supervisor Dianne Klemm not to seek re-election has opened seats down the ballot as other township officials seek to succeed her.

Current Village Clerk Charles Lutzow Jr. and Crystal Lake City Council member Ellen Brady Mueller are running to succeed Klemm, who has held the office since 2000. Current township trustee Melissa Sanchez-Fisher and former Cary Village Board member Karen Lukasik are running to replace Lutzow as clerk.

Highway Commissioner Robert Miller, who has held the office since 1993, faces a challenge from McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser, who also is the chairman of the Algonquin Township Republican Party.

Gasser has openly criticized alleged nepotism in department hiring, and last year spearheaded the township GOP to formally adopt a resolution condemning the practice. Miller’s wife and two sons-in-law also are on the payroll, each making at least $90,000 a year.

The office of highway commissioner has been in Miller’s family since the mid-1960s – Miller’s father, and his father’s father-in-law, previously held it. Robert Miller first joined the highway department as an employee in 1972.

Two incumbents and five newcomers are running for the four open trustee seats. Incumbents Dan Shea and Russell Cardelli are running, as are Terence Ferenc, Rachael Lawrence, Melissa Victor, Scott Taillet and Cary Village Board Trustee David Chapman. Trustee Larry Emery is not seeking re-election, and Sanchez-Fisher is running for clerk.

The four Republican trustee nominees will face a challenge April 4 from Democratic candidate Dominique Miller.

Richard Alexander is running unopposed to succeed Assessor Bob Kunz, who is retiring after 40 years holding the office.

The township includes all or parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Barrington Hills and Trout Valley.

Republican primaries also are set for offices in Nunda and Grafton townships – a list of polling places in Tuesday’s election can be found on the county website at co.mchenry.il.us. Seven early voting stations throughout the county will be open through Monday.

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