Republican Patrick Kenneally elected McHenry County state's attorney

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Republican candidate and McHenry County First Assistant State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally will head the office after a decisive victory over challenger Ray Flavin.

Kenneally held 85,828 votes, or about 63 percent of votes, according to unofficial results Tuesday night. Democratic candidate Ray Flavin held about 49,418 votes, or about 36.5 percent of votes.

Kenneally will succeed current State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi, who decided against seeking a fourth term. After Bianchi chose not to run late last year, Kenneally subsequently gathered the signatures to run and defeated Republican challenger Dan Regna in the March primary.

“I’m feeling terrific, thrilled, humbled and honored that the people in McHenry County did me this wonderful honor of electing me the next state’s attorney,” he said Tuesday evening.

He said the long year of campaigning has taught him a lot about politics and the issues that face the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Kenneally plans to “hit the ground running” as early as next week. Two of his priorities for the beginning of next year include getting an electronic warrant pilot program off the ground and an amnesty program for those who use drugs but want treatment – similar to Lake County’s Way Out program.

Flavin, a Woodstock lawyer with 23 years of experience, was chosen by the county’s Democratic Party in July to face Kenneally for the position after attorney James Harrison dropped out to care for an ailing family member.

“I’m obviously disappointed, but it looks like it is the year for the Republicans,” he said late Tuesday.

Flavin said he was happy to have run for the position because many of the things he wanted to see the state’s attorney’s office do now are being considered, including budget cuts and the possible expansion of drug courts and mental health and veterans programs.

Throughout his campaign, Kenneally stressed his experience in the state’s attorney’s office, doing almost every job in the office.

His goal at the end of his first term is to cut the state’s attorney’s office budget by 10 percent, or $300,000.

He plans to do so by cutting staff positions, reducing the need for out-of-county office training, eliminating the need for outside counsel for labor cases and cutting the number of county-owned vehicles used by the office.

Flavin, who has said he understands the need for efficiency, consistently stressed the fact that any cuts made by the state’s attorney’s office would not be significant to the taxpayer.

The office currently costs each taxpayer about $9. Flavin planned to consolidate the state’s attorney’s office, where he said staffing has increased despite smaller caseloads.