WOODSTOCK – Republican candidates won 10 seats on the McHenry County Board on Tuesday while Democrats wrestled away two seats held by Republican incumbents.
The two Democrats to win were Lake in the Hills Village Trustee Paula Yensen in District 5 and County Democratic Chairwoman Kathleen Bergan Schmidt in District 3.
Both candidates defeated Republican incumbents. County Board Vice Chairman John Jung Jr. of Woodstock lost in District 5 while four-year Republican incumbent Nick Provenzano narrowly lost in District 3.
Republican incumbent Mary Donner of Crystal Lake led District 3 with 10,718 votes, Bergan Schmidt received 9,513 votes, and Provenzano, of McHenry, received 9,227 votes, according to unofficial totals.
“I think we had some other deserving candidates who should have won. I’m pleased that we had two [Democrats elected]; that makes three [Democrats] on the board,” Bergan Schmidt said.
“Maybe next time we’ll elect three and we’ll have six on the board.”
The addition of two more Democrats to the 24-member County Board that traditionally is dominated by Republicans will be good for county governance, said Bergan Schmidt, who lives in Crystal Lake.
“It’s just going to give some different perspectives on things,” she said.
“We don’t have any reason to be lockstep.”
In District 5, incumbent Republican Virginia Peschke of Bull Valley received 12,259 votes, Yensen received 12,181 votes, Jung received 10,851 votes, and Green Party candidate Frank Wedig received 3,068 votes.
Yensen attributed her victory to canvassing since April, knocking on 8,000 doors in the district, and listening to voters’ concerns.
“I want to thank the people of District 5 who voted for me, and it will be a real honor to represent them and represent working families,” she said.
Republican Robert “Bob” Bless of Fox River Grove and Republican incumbent Marc Munaretto of Algonquin won seats in District 1. Bless won 10,326 votes, Munaretto won 9,349 votes, and Democratic candidate James McTague of Cary got 8,682 votes, according to unofficial county vote totals.
In District 2, Republican incumbent James Heisler of Crystal Lake and Republican candidate Scott Breeden of Lakewood won seats over Democrats Anita Harmon and Jill Mawhinney, both of Crystal Lake. Heisler received 9,235 votes, Breeden won 7,487 votes, Harmon got 7,004 votes and Mawhinney earned 6,602 votes.
Breeden said he was excited to be elected, especially considering a majority of county voters supported the Democratic candidate for president.
“I think my support is attributed to living in the area for 30 some years and being somewhat active in the community for that time,” Breeden said.
In District 4, Republican incumbent John Hammerand of Wonder Lake was the top vote-getter with 11,251 votes, followed by Republican incumbent Sue Draffkorn of Wonder Lake with 10,496 votes. Both won seats. Democrat Jeff Thirtyacre of Spring Grove received 8,743 votes, according to unofficial results.
“I think the voters are interested in my conservative outlook on finances, and I think they’ve seen my past proposals and they’ve supported them,” Hammerand said.
In District 6, Republican incumbent Randall Donley of Union and Republican candidate Ersel Schuster of Woodstock prevailed over Democrats Darryl Frank of Woodstock and Robert Ludwig of Harvard. Donley received 11,406 votes, Schuster won 9,558 votes, Frank earned 8,691 votes and Ludwig got 7,805 votes.
“I couldn’t be happier. I really, really want to do this job. I’ve enjoyed being on the board for two years, even though I was not elected, I was appointed,” said Donley.
“I honestly feel I’m just coming into my stride. ... I’m thrilled the voters had the confidence to want to keep me [on the board].”