Kane Board incumbent Kenyon to face challenger Stare in Republican primary election

Differences align with national split in GOP over LGBTQ+, paper ballots, and Trump

Mike Kenyon (left) and Eric Stare (right).

SOUTH ELGIN – A stark contrast in views among Kane County Republicans could not be more apparent than in the March 19 primary contest between Kane County Board District 16 incumbent Michael Kenyon of South Elgin and his opponent Eric Stare.

Kenyon is a dairy farmer who has served on the board for 18 years.

Stare is an Elgin Township trustee who drives for Republic Services, a waste collection company. Stare also served as a Marine at Camp Lejeune and in Okinawa.

Their differences closely match the split in the GOP nationally.

Kenyon voted to support Pride Month in Kane County, a symbol of diversity and acceptance in the LGBTQ+ community.

“They wanted Pride Month. It’s important to them – fine – and it doesn’t cost anything,” Kenyon said.

“I don’t think government can change people into being something they were not meant to be,” Kenyon said. “You can’t ‘cure’ people from what they are not. You can’t make them be something they’re not.”

Stare said because of his Christian faith he does not condone homosexuality.

Stare picketed the UpRising Bakery and Cafe in Lake in the Hills in 2022 over the bakery’s decision to host a drag show.

“It was a kid-friendly drag show,” Stare said. “Males with sexual fetishes dancing in front of children. That is where I draw the line. ... What they were doing – they should be in prison. I’m glad they no longer exist. That business has been shut down.”

Paper ballots

Stare wants to return to hand-counting paper ballots.

“Election integrity and government transparency,” Stare said. “I’ve seen plenty to raise some red flags. ... For the 2020 election and to my knowledge, nothing has been fixed since. ... I don’t believe in these machines.”

Kenyon disagreed.

“That’s too expensive. That would take too long,” Kenyon said of a return to hand-counted paper ballots.

“We already have a paper ballot. That machine kicks out a paper ballot, also an electronic one,” Kenyon said. “If those people don’t trust a machine, who are they going to trust? A person? That’s what I want to know. Besides, there are too many things to decide on our ballots. It’s not just a yes or a no.”


Stare is committed to Donald Trump. The former president’s photo is on his Facebook page.

“I absolutely think Trump won the 2020 election,” Stare said. “I’m a pro-Trump supporter and I agree with his policies, especially with what’s going on at the border.”

Kenyon accepts that Biden won in 2020.

“Joe Biden was the certified elected president,” Kenyon said. “Joe Biden won.”

Regarding the persistent claim among some in the GOP that Trump won in 2020, Kenyon said, “At least four lawyers have lost their licenses by getting on that wagon train with Trump. [Rudy] Giuliani ... was looked upon as a leader years ago. Now he’s just an idiot.”

‘America First’

As to why he would go after an incumbent in his own party in a primary, Stare said he thanks Kenyon for his service, but now it’s time for him to go.

“Mike is part of the same old tired Republican establishment club,” Stare said. “I’m an America First type candidate. ... I put America first. Any decision I make, No. 1 , I’m doing it for what’s best not just for America, but for our community. ... I just totally disagree with the way they are handling things at the county.”

Stare said he would not say what he disagrees with regarding Kenyon’s decisions on the county board, but he would elaborate once he releases a public statement.

“I wouldn’t say you could classify me bipartisan on a lot of issues,” Stare said. “I’ll always listen and always pray about my decision before I make one, too.”

Kenyon said he works with Democrats on bipartisan issues for the good of the county. He said he gets along with them and some are friends.

“I’m a moderate whose votes are well thought out on issues,” Kenyon said. “I support employers and I support unions. ... I have voted to preserve farmland.”

Farmland preservation is how Kenyon got started on the county board. He served on the Farmland Protection Commission.

“I was appointed to that [commission] before I was elected to the board as a farmer,” Kenyon said.

He is the only farmer on the county board.

Kenyon served as president of the Kane County Forest Preserve Commission, president of the Kane County Farm Bureau from 1996 to 2002 and district director of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Kenyon served in every office of the South Elgin Jaycees, who recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He helped found the South Elgin Business Association and served two terms as second president. He helped found the Food For Greater Elgin initiative, which works with the Northern Illinois Food Bank, and donates produce from his farm.

The primary winner will face Democrat Ted Penesis in the Nov. 5 general election.