SYCAMORE – Election season is now in full swing in DeKalb County as several hopefuls began filing petitions for their candidacies Monday.
Voters in the March 19 primary election will get to weigh in on candidates seeking their respective party’s nomination for president, Congress and the Illinois General Assembly. They’ll also get to weigh in on candidates seeking nominations for several countywide offices including state’s attorney, coroner, circuit court clerk and DeKalb County Board seats in all 12 districts.
Those who win in the March 19 primary would then advance to the general election in November.
Among those in line to file by 8:30 a.m. Monday were Linda Besler, a Kingston Republican; and Brian K. Zarbock, a Somonauk Republican. Both candidates in September announced their intentions to run for DeKalb County coroner after longtime incumbent Dennis Miller announced he would not seek re-election.
Besler, who has worked as deputy coroner and executive secretary for the past three years in Miller’s office, said she feels good about her chances and thinks her experience will help her win the office. Besler said she would like to update the coroner’s office facilities, among other things.
“It’s fairly dated. I do believe we need to look into that and address that,” Besler said. “I’m very cost conscientious, so that obviously will play a large role in that.”
Zarbock, a former Kane County deputy coroner, touted his 37 years of medical experience which includes being a surgical assistant, 25 years as a paramedic and five as a critical care medic. Zarbock said the experience has given him opportunities to work with families every day.
“What I’d like to do is strategically place deputy coroners [and] not have them all congregated in one area, so families, fire departments don’t have to wait a half-hour, hour, an hour-and-half. It’s not fair to the families to sit there,” Zarbock said. “It’s tough enough for them.”
Democrat Cat Prescott filed paperwork Monday to seek her party’s nomination. Prescott also ran an unsuccessful bid for coroner in 2020.
Also in line Monday morning were Circuit Court Clerk and incumbent Lori Grubbs and state’s attorney hopeful Riley N. Oncken, both Republicans. Democrat Tammie Shered also filed paperwork to be the next circuit clerk.
Grubbs said she’s proud of what she’s accomplished since she first started working in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in 1994.
“A couple of my big accomplishments are going e-record in the civil division,” Grubbs said. “We did that this past June and also implementing a self-help legal center, which is located on the first floor of the courthouse. It’s been quite a success. We continually keep expanding that room with different services.”
Grubbs said she continues to be intrigued by everything that her current position gives her the opportunity to do in service to her county.
“I love DeKalb County. I’m a lifelong resident of DeKalb County,” Grubbs said. “The courthouse is a place that is my second home. So, I enjoy going to work everyday.”
State’s Attorney Rick Amato announced his decision not to seek reelection earlier this year, prompting an open competition for his successor.
By the end of the day on Monday, only Oncken had filed his nomination papers. The filing window is open until Dec. 4.
Charles “Chuck” Rose of Sycamore, however, has said he intends to run for state’s attorney as a Democrat. Rose is a Sycamore lawyer and a former cop whose law office specializes in representing people with disabilities.
Oncken said he feels good about his chances of getting elected to assume the position of State’s Attorney.
“I’ve been an attorney for 19 years,” Oncken said. “I’ve got experience in almost every area of the law. I’ve done civil, criminal, family, real estate. I think that broad experience will give me good qualification for the office of state’s attorney.”
Oncken said that among the biggest concerns facing the state’s attorney’s office is the implementation of the SAFE-T Act.
“The SAFE-T Act has been a challenge, I know, for the state’s attorney office, as well, as the public not understanding everything about it,” Oncken said. “The state’s attorney office, so far, it appears is doing a good job, what they need to to keep violent criminals inside, allow those that are intended to be out to be out. We’ll see over the next year how that continues to work. Hopefully, by the time, I take office, things will be running smoothly and I’ll be able to make a seamless transition.”
There are seats in all 12 DeKalb County Board districts up for grabs in the 2024 election. There also are two districts, District 1 and District 11, on the ballot for candidates to fill two-year unexpired terms.
Other candidates who filed paperwork for County Board seats on Monday included:
- Republican Lawrence R. West for District 1.
- Republican Rhonda L. Henke and Democrat Fredrick Hall for the District 1 unexpired term.
- Republican incumbent Kathleen “Kathy” Lampkins and Democrat Christopher Schroeder for District 2.
- Democrat incumbent Amber Quitno for District 3.
- Democrat incumbent Stewart Ogilvie for District 4.
- Democrat Veronica Garcia-Martinez for District 5.
- Democrat incumbent Meryl Domina for District 6.
- Democrat incumbent Terri Mann-Lamb for District 7.
- Democrat incumbent Christopher Porterfield for District 8.
- Democrat Laura L. Hoffman for District 10.
- Democrat Shell (Celeste) A DeYoung Dunn for District 11.
- Democrat Anna Wilhelmi for the District 11 unexpired term.
- Republican Phyllis G. Brown and Democrat Traci Griffin-Lappe for District 12.
- A handful of candidates seeking to become a precinct committee person also filed on Monday.
Ogilvie, a Sycamore Democrat, was one of the candidates in line on Monday morning. No one else from either party had filed to run for the office by the end of the day on Monday.
Ogilvie said he has unfinished business he would like to complete on the board. He said “following through with the county home, and making sure that taxes stay low” were among his goals if got another term.
Ogilvie said he remains optimistic about his chances of serving on the board again.
“My fingers are crossed,” he said. “I hope so. I’m looking forward to serving again.”
Prospective candidates have until Dec. 4 to file their nomination papers. Opposed candidates from the same political party who filed simultaneously will be entered into a lottery on Dec. 12 to determine their ballot position. Candidates who are unopposed in the primary election would advance to the November election.