The McHenry County GOP is up for grabs – and the battle features two Republican insiders gunning for the party’s throne.
Precinct committeemen of the McHenry County Republican Party will meet for their annual convention Wednesday night and vote on who they think should lead the GOP into the future.
Two names have emerged in the race for the GOP chairmanship soon to be vacated by Sandra Salgado: Mark Daniel and Diane Evertsen.
Evertsen, a retired real estate agent who also served on the Harvard School District 50 Board, now serves on the McHenry County Board.
Daniel is precinct committeeman in Nunda Township and once served as the vice chairman of the McHenry County Republican Party under the leadership of Mike Tryon.
He is the a former assistant of the late state Sen. Dick Klemm, a member of the Illinois Senate from 1993 until his retirement in 2003.
The slate of candidates running alongside Daniel include:
• Vice chairman: Jim Kearns, a District 6 McHenry County Board member and former Grafton Township supervisor.
• Secretary: Tamara Valentine-Garza, former Richmond Township supervisor.
• Treasurer: Jim Condon, McHenry Township highway commissioner.
To Daniel, the McHenry County GOP has lacked direction and vision under the leadership of Salgado, who many Republican insiders have described as a “shadow.”
“What has the Republican Party done in the past two years?” Daniel said. “They haven’t done anything.”
The accountant pointed to the fact that the McHenry County GOP this year did not organize a Lincoln Day Dinner – an event used to bring together members of the Republican Party under one roof.
The fact that the dinner did not happen this year illustrates the fragmented state of local Republican leadership, Daniel said.
“We need a new, fresh start to leadership in McHenry County,” Daniel said.
On the other side of the fight for GOP leadership is the slate supporting Evertsen, who was not available for comment on this story.
County Board member Chuck Wheeler announced his candidacy for the party’s vice chairman spot in a mailer to precinct committeemen. He described a slate of candidates supporting Evertsen:
• Treasurer: Shannon Teresi, an accountant now serving in the McHenry County Auditor’s Office.
• Secretary: Karen Tirio, a precinct committeeman in Dorr Township.
“We’re going to unite the party, both geographically and ideologically,” Wheeler said. “We have a vision of nominating Republican candidates that hold closely to the Republican platform.”
Wheeler desires the Republican platform as one with less government and lower taxes. It’s the goal of the Evertsen crew to elect Republican candidates who share those ideologies, he said.
“Not just people who think it’s cool to be a Republican so they run as a Republican,” Wheeler said.
Precinct committeemen in McHenry County will meet for their annual convention at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday at the McHenry VFW Post 4600.
The McHenry County Democratic Party also will hold its annual convention Wednesday night to pick new leadership.
Kristina Zahorik, the party’s vice chairwoman, said she plans to run for chairwoman.
“We have momentum,” Zahorik said of the Democratic Party and talks of a “blue wave” election in November. “There’s a lot of new folk who have come out of the woodwork.”