La Salle County Board chair race will have contested primaries in both parties

Candidates file as deadline passes to run for county office

Voters fill booths Nov. 3, 2020, at the Oglesby Elks.

La Salle County voters will have local races to settle at the spring primary in 2024, led by the race for chairman of the La Salle County Board.

The filing period for elected office ended Monday afternoon and most of La Salle County’s constitutional offices – coroner and state’s attorney, for example – are uncontested.

One exception is Don Jensen, Republican chairman of the county board. Jensen, of Deer Park, now has a Republican challenger, Deborah S. Porter, on the March 19 ballot. The resulting GOP nominee will face off against the winner of a Democratic contest between La Salle County Board members Brian Dose, of Ottawa, and Joey Oscepinski, of Peru.

There will be a few contests and a few new faces on the La Salle County Board.

Gelinda Heller, of Peru, a Democrat appointed to replace the late Joe Witczak in District 11, seeks a full term and will be challenged by former La Salle County Sheriff Tom Templeton, a Republican.

Incumbent Mike Kasap (D-La Salle) is not seeking reelection. Two Republicans, Melody Burgess and Michelle Mathia, will vie for the GOP nomination for District 13. A third suitor, Democrat Alexandria “Ali” Braboy, will face off against the winner in November.

Incumbent Pamela Beckett (D-Ottawa) declined to seek a four-year term, citing her other commitments. Democrat Thomas R. Miller is unopposed for her seat in District 18.

Incumbent LouAnne Carretto (D-Ottawa) is not running again. Her seat (District 19) will be contested between Republican James Bailey or Democrat Olivia Romine.

In District 25, incumbent Ronald Blue is seeking reelection. A Democratic challenger, Fred Nimke, seeks to unseat him.

Incumbent Republicans Joanne McNally (District 1), Gary Small (District 2), Beth Findley Smith (District 4), Kathy Bright (District 6), Craig Emmett (District 7), Arratta Znaniecki (District 24), Walter Roach (District 27) and Matt Slager (District 28) are unopposed. On the Democratic side, Douglas Trager (District 17) is unopposed.

Five county officers filed for reelection and so far are unopposed. These include two Democrats, state’s attorney Joe Navarro and coroner Rich Ploch, and three Republicans auditor Stephanie Jo Thompson, circuit clerk Greg Vaccaro and recorder Karen Friestad Miller.

If a political party does not have a representative run for a post in the primary, the county party may appoint someone to run for that office in the general election following the primary.

"I Voted" stickers are placed on a voting machine at the Ladd Community Center on Tuesday April 6, 2021.