This is the fifth part in a series of articles outlining competitive primary races in McHenry County ahead of the June 28 primary. Check out nwherald.com/election over the next month and beyond for more election coverage.
Read about the McHenry County Board District 2 candidates running in the Democratic primary here, Republicans running in District 3 here, Democratic candidates for county clerk here and Democrats running for the Illinois Supreme Court here.
Two of the Republicans running for the McHenry County Board in District 4 have past experience as small-business owners, while two others have experience in local government.
The race to represent District 4 on the McHenry County Board features four Republican candidates – an incumbent board member, a former Nunda Township trustee, a restaurateur and a nursing director.
Paul Barthel, Suzanne Delaney, Joseph Gottemoller and Mike Shorten are vying in the Republican primary this June for the two spots on the November ballot. Two Democrats also are running – Laura McGowen and Dominic Petrucci – although their primary is noncompetitive.
Gottemoller, who represents District 3 as a County Board member, now will be running in the newly drawn District 4, which includes parts of Bull Valley, Cary, Crystal Lake, Lakewood, Prairie Grove and Woodstock. The district runs from about the intersection of Three Oaks Road and Route 14 through downtown Crystal Lake to the southeastern corner of Woodstock.
The County Board’s districts were redrawn this past year as part of the decennial redistricting process, which also included transforming the county’s six four-member districts into nine two-member districts as part of an effort to reduce the County Board’s size.
The issue that compelled Barthel to run for the County Board is animal welfare.
He said he would like to see animal abuse become a felony. Although he acknowledged the County Board’s role is limited in this area, he wants to ban puppy mills and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals.
Within the county, Barthel said he’d support a program for spaying and neutering animals and increasing the number of microchip clinics the county hosts.
Beyond animal welfare, Barthel said he supports “kitchen table policies,” would defend McHenry County residents’ civil rights – including optional masks and vaccinations regarding COVID-19 – and would push for government transparency.
“You shouldn’t have to be stressed about taxes or how your children are indoctrinated or what envelopes are being passed back and forth in backrooms,” Barthel said.
Gottemoller, who has been on the County Board since 2012, served as County Board chairman from 2014 to 2016.
He pointed to his role in the county’s passage of a unified development ordinance, which consolidated development-related ordinances to reduce the number of petitions the county would receive for what Gottemoller described as noncontroversial requests.
“We virtually never said no to anybody,” Gottemoller said of lot variations. “So if we always said ‘yes’ for things like garages or deck locations, why are we making people go through this whole process?”
Gottemoller said he supports growth for “jobs that most people would be happy to have.” regulations from the county government process. He also said he had not voted for a single tax increase in his 10 years on the board and was proud of his role in projects such ass the Rakow Road expansion.
Gottemoller said he supports growth for “jobs that most people would be happy to have.”
Meanwhile, Shorten said he supports “fiscally responsible government” at the County Board level and sees the position as overseeing zoning and budgets for county departments. He said he would look to cut costs within county departments while still providing effective levels of service to residents.
“We have to do everything we possibly can without increasing taxes,” Shorten said.
Also on Shorten’s radar is crime, and he said he wants to make sure the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is well funded.
Delaney, who said this is her first time entering politics, said she could bring “fresh ideas to county government” and sees her role on the board as being a voice for constituents, particularly on health issues.
“My goal is to pave the way so our children can have freedom and good places to live, and not be driven by executive orders,” Delaney said, referencing COVID-19 restrictions.
Beyond COVID-19, one health issue Delaney said she feels is under-discussed is the impact of 5G cell towers.
“I think it needs to be brought to the forefront of every community, every county,” Delaney said.
Barthel, a lifelong Illinois resident, owned a restaurant for 10 years, the now-closed Peppercorns in Carol Stream, and before that was an executive chef for 30 years.
He also wrote a book, “Never Left Behind,” about his Labrador retriever and currently owns a commercial cleaning company called Always Cleaning.
Gottemoller is an attorney in Crystal Lake, where he’s lived since 1984. His firm specializes in real estate and zoning issues.
Delaney, who has three children and seven grandchildren, said she was born and raised in Chicago and has been living within the new District 4 for the past five years.
Delaney said she has a master’s degree in health services administration and spent decades in nursing and working in “all avenues” of the health care industry.
More recently, Delaney opened an antique store in Woodstock, the Gilded Acorn, and while the shop closed during the pandemic, Delaney said she still sells material online.
Shorten, a regional account manager for a large home improvement retailer, uses his nickname, “Shorty,” on his campaign’s Facebook page and has lived in Crystal Lake for more than 20 years.
Shorten served a four-year term as a Nunda Township trustee from 2013 to 2017. He also ran for a spot on the County Board two years ago and came up short by fewer than 130 votes.
After County Board member Lori Parrish decided not to run in the new District 4, Shorten said he heard from several people who asked whether he would consider running.
“I was apprehensive about running again,” Shorten said. “But when it came down to brass tax, if decent, levelheaded people don’t run, you get where we are today in some respects.”