One election storyline puts Democrats in a position to make new inroads on a historically Republican County Board. Two seats in each district are up for grabs. A Democratic candidate is running for every district, except in District 4.
Carlos Acosta, D-Woodstock, is running for a District 5 spot. A successful election would make him the first Hispanic elected to the County Board. But that fact does not cloud his vision, he said.
“It only takes up maybe a third of my focus,” Acosta said. “Realistically, because I am Hispanic, I do pay attention to how the Latino community interacts with the County Board. The fact that I’m Hispanic is only part of it.”
On the County Board, Acosta said he plans to focus on the inner workings of budget cuts in an effort to sustain services that often are cut to balance a budget.
In Districts 3, 4, 5 and 6, at a least one incumbent hopes to win re-election. In District 4, incumbent Republican Charles “Chuck” Wheeler will face off against Steve Bellmore, R-McHenry, and a candidate McHenry County locals will recognize: Pamela Althoff.
The McHenry native and Republican has served as a member of the Illinois Senate since 2003. As a senator, she backed legislation to expand agriculture, increase open space and promote economic growth.
If elected, Althoff said she plans to focus her energy on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Fox River waterway, a subject she championed as a senator.
Although only Republican incumbents are running for re-election as sheriff, treasurer and regional superintendent of schools, the race for the McHenry County clerk seat is shaping up to be a battle.
Incumbent Mary McClellan is not seeking re-election and instead is running for circuit court judge. Her exit leaves the clerk’s office door open to a list candidates with experience in other forms of local government.
McHenry County Recorder Joe Tirio, who ran to abolish the office all together, made official his intent to run for the McHenry County Clerk’s Office, into which the recorder position will be folded with voter approval.
Tirio announced his intention to run in July, ending months of speculation. His announcement comes a month after the County Board voted to put a binding referendum on the same March 20 ballot asking voters whether they want to eliminate the recorder’s office and merge its responsibilities into the county clerk’s office, as is done in most Illinois counties.
Tirio is fighting for the Republican nomination against McHenry City Clerk Janice Dalton.
Across the aisle is Democrat Drew Georgi Jr., a former Hebron trustee and Marine veteran who hopes to improve government transparency and fortify the county’s voting process, which has been the subject of much scrutiny. Candidates, elected officials and voters demanded answers after the March 2016 primary, when ballots were not tallied until almost 48 hours after the polls closed.
State Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock, filed for re-election to his 63rd House District seat Monday.
Nancy Zettler, D-Algonquin, is running to represent much of McHenry and Kane counties as a state senator in the 33rd District. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, also is vying for the seat.
And in a race for the 14th Congressional District, the list includes eight candidates: George Weber, D-Lakewood; Randy Hultgren, R-Plano; Matthew Brolley, D-Montgomery; Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville; Victor Swanson, D-Batavia; John Hosta, D-Spring Grove; Jim Waltz, D-Gurnee; and Daniel Roldan-Johnson, D-Volo.
Here's a look at the candidates who filed for the March 20 primary:
Christopher Spoerl, R-Cary
Robert Nowak, R-Algonquin
Michael Vijuk, D-Cary
Josh Howell, R-Cary
Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake
Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake
Timothy O'Neill, D-Crystal Lake
Nancy Gonsiorek, R-Crystal Lake
Joseph Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake
Lori Parrish, R-Crystal Lake
Kelly Wegener, D-Crystal Lake
Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry
Steve Bellmore, R-McHenry
Charles Wheeler, R-McHenry
Tina Hill, R-Woodstock
John Jung Jr., R-Woodstock
Michael Rein, R-Woodstock
Lesli Melendy, R-Huntley
Frank Wedig, D-Woodstock
Carlos Acosta, D-Woodstock
Michelle Aavang, R-Woodstock
Orville Brettman, R-Huntley
Ersel Schuster, R-Harvard
Larry Smith, R-Harvard
Buffy Brasile, D-Woodstock
Janice Dalton, R-McHenry
Joe Tirio, R-Woodstock
Andrew Georgi Jr., D-Hebron
William Primm, R-Cary
Glenda Miller, R-Harvard
Regional superintendent of schools
Leslie Schermerhorn, R-Woodstock
33rd Senate District
Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles
Nancy Zettler, D-Algonquin
32nd Senate District
Craig Wilcox, R-McHenry
John Reinert, R-Crystal Lake
Mary Mahady, D-McHenry
14th Congressional District
George Weber, D-Lakewood
Randy Hultgren, R-Plano
Matthew Brolley, D-Montgomery
Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville
Victor Swanson, D-Batavia
John Hosta, D-Spring Grove
Jim Waltz, D-Gurnee
Daniel Roldan-Johnson, D-Volo
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect George Weber's correct town of residence.