With unofficial results in, Amato looks to be first DeKalb County State's Attorney to serve 2nd term since 2008

Image 1 of 2

As of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, 47,982 voters have cast their ballots throughout DeKalb County.

Those tallies do not include mail-in ballots that have yet to arrive. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted if they arrive by 14 days after the election.

With 65 out of 65 precincts now reporting, Republican and incumbent Rick Amato has the lead for the DeKalb County State's Attorney's race with 57.55%, or 26,685 votes over Democrat challenger Anna Wilhelmi's 42.45%, or 19,685 votes.

Though numbers aren't yet finalized, Amato would be the first state's attorney to serve a second term in DeKalb County since 2008. The significance of that isn't lost on him.

"I'm very thankful," he said Tuesday, from his home where he watched election results with his family, wife Renee, and children Grace, Dominic and new baby Rose. "Thankful to our community for giving me the opportunity to serve. I'm also proud of our team. When you're in a position where the state's attorney never gets reelected, it wears on them. It's not easy to live through, but I'm also thankful for my family. IT means a lot to me to be able to share this with them."

Wilhelmi, of Earville, has been practicing law since 1996, and is a real estate attorney with offices in Aurora. A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Amato has practiced law since 2003 when he worked as an assistant state's attorney in the DeKalb County State's Attorney's office. In 2004, he opened his own private law firm working as a criminal defense attorney based in DeKalb County until 2016, when he ran for DeKalb County State's Attorney and won, defeating incumbent Richard Schmack.

Throughout his campaign, Amato touted the success of programs he put in place in his first term to address low-level offenses and remediate those faced with charges related to drug and mental illness.

He's already got plans in place for More in his second term.

"There's a program that's kind of following the same areas of work, that's working with our children, schools, trying to make sure we're serving our kids," Amato said, calling the program 'Handle with Care'.

Amato, who supports cash bail reform, also ran on campaign platforms to focus on the county's toughest crime in his second term, including violent crime and domestic violence, specifically repeat offenders.

In light of local calls over the summer as Black Lives Matter groups marched their way around DeKalb County calling for changes and racial equity in policing, Amato said he worked this summer with DeKalb, Sycamore and Northern Illinois University police, along with the DeKalb County Sheriff' Office, to review use of force policies.

All four agencies have now banned use of carotid artery holds, and added a "duty to intervene," clause to their policies.

For the most up-to-date election results for all races, visit

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke is the editor of the Daily Chronicle, part of Shaw Media and DeKalb County's only daily newspaper devoted to local news, crime and courts, government, business, sports and community coverage. Kelsey also covers breaking news for Shaw Media Local News Network.