Competitive races line both the Democratic and Republican ballots as early voting continues ahead of Tuesday’s primary election.
With 14 races across the McHenry County Board; countywide and statewide offices; and judicial, state legislative and congressional districts, Republican voters have more to weigh in on when they cast their ballots in next week’s contest.
Six of those races are competitive on the Democratic side, and all voters in Crystal Lake and Harvard – including those who fill out Libertarian or nonpartisan ballots – will be asked their thoughts on local referendums.
Those referendums include a Crystal Lake Park District ballot question on whether park commissioner terms should be lengthened to six years from four and a city of Harvard one that, if approved, would increase the local sales tax rate by a percentage point to fund public infrastructure improvements.
Three Democrats are vying for two spots: incumbent John Collins, Gloria Van Hof and Thomas Pavelko.
Collins, appointed more than a year ago, is a local business owner. Van Hof is a longtime local activist who has ran in the past for various political positions. Pavelko has been passed up twice for an appointment on the board. Originally from the St. Louis area, he has served on a few municipal boards.
Two Democrats are vying for the chance to face off against incumbent Republican County Clerk Joe Tirio this fall.
Mary Mahady serves as the McHenry Township assessor, as well as on the McHenry County Board of Review. She has been in real estate for 30 years.
Andrew Georgi has worked on various campaigns and ran unsuccessfully in the past for the McHenry County Board. He also has worked with the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project.
Three Democrats are vying to replace Judge Robert Carter on the Illinois Supreme Court, representing the 2nd District, which covers DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.
The candidates are Kane County Judge Rene Cruz, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Lake County Judge Elizabeth Rochford.
Cruz was appointed in 2012 as the first Hispanic judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois. He would be the first Spanish-speaking judge on the Supreme Court. He began in Kane County presiding in the Family Court Division and currently is the presiding judge of the criminal misdemeanor and traffic division.
Rotering is a three-term mayor, having served Highland Park residents as mayor the past 13 years. While in private practice, she advocated for students with chronic conditions, including working with families at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and helping to pass the Care of Students with Diabetes Act in Springfield.
Rochford has been a judge for the past nine years. She has worked as a prosecutor and private attorney and served 23 years as commissioner of the Illinois Court of Claims. She serves on multiple advisory committees to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Three Democrats also are running for a vacancy in the Illinois Appellate Court’s 2nd District. They include attorney Michael G. Cortina, Lake County Judge Christopher Kennedy and Lake County Circuit Clerk Erin Cartwright Weinstein.
Cartwright Weinstein’s candidacy was challenged unsuccessfully, with the state electoral board dismissing the objection and a court upholding that decision.
Cortina is a longtime attorney who has been a prosecutor and defense attorney before juries and judges in criminal and civil cases. He has campaigned as the only Hispanic candidate running for a bench that serves a district made up of 25% Hispanic residents.
Kennedy, appointed an associate judge in 2020, has worked as Lake County assistant state’s attorney and has had a private law firm. He served on the board of the Autism Society of Illinois and volunteered as its legislative director, lobbying for laws helping those with disabilities.
Cartwright Weinstein, who has 17 years of experience as a lawyer, was elected as circuit clerk in 2016 and reelected in 2020. She worked in the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office from 2000 to 2004 before opening her own practice.
Among the contested statewide races are ones for governor and lieutenant governor, where incumbent Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton are being challenged by Beverly Miles and Karla Shaw. The race for the Democratic secretary of state nomination includes four Democrats seeking to replace longtime incumbent Jesse White, who is not running for reelection. The candidates include former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Chicago Ald. David H. Moore, Chicago City Clerk Anna M. Valencia and Sidney Moore, a nonprofit executive.
Four McHenry County Board races are contested on the Republican side. In each race, voters can pick their top two candidates.
In District 3, incumbent McHenry County Board member Bob Nowak, currently representing District 1, faces off against two other Republicans. The district includes parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and Lakewood.
Nowak, of Cary, has served on the County Board since 2010 and before that was Cary’s director of building, planning and zoning for 22 years. Lake in the Hills resident Robert Reining is an auto mechanic who said on his campaign Facebook page that he hopes to bring “strong conservative leadership” to the County Board. Eric Hendricks is an associate attorney at Franks, Gerkin, Ponitz & Greeley in Marengo and graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2016.
The candidates include Paul Barthel of Cary, a former restauranteur who is an animal rights advocate; Mike “Shorty” Shorten of Crystal Lake, a former Nunda Township trustee and regional account manager for a major retailer; and Suzanne Delaney of Crystal Lake, a nurse executive who owned and ran the Gilded Acorn antique store for several years in Woodstock.
In District 5, a current board member is facing a business owner and former township trustee. The district includes all or parts of Cary, Holiday Hills, Lakemoor, McHenry, Oakwood Hills, Port Barrington and Prairie Grove.
Current member Stephen Doherty was appointed to the board in late 2018 and ran in an uncontested race two years later. Terri Greeno, a business owner who also has been a stay-at-home mother, is running as well. Rounding out the list, Justin Franzke has served as both a board member of Nunda Township and as a precinct committeeperson.
In District 6, current board member Pamela Althoff, who has served as the McHenry mayor and as an Illinois state senator, is facing Carl Kamienski and Erik Sivertsen.
Kamienski has worked on several political campaigns in the past and is a precinct chairperson. Sivertsen has been involved in politics for more than a decade, serving on the McHenry School District 15 Board and as the McHenry Township Republican Party chairman.
The one contested countywide race on the Republican side is the one for sheriff, where Undersheriff Robb Tadelman is looking to take the top spot against Tony Colatorti, an entrepreneur and former police chief.
Tadelman is leaning on his experience in the agency, which spans 18 years and has seen him work across multiple capacities in the office. Colatorti, having served as an officer and police chief twice over the course of 20 years, has pointed to his business experience as a factor that distinguishes him.
Two seats in the Illinois General Assembly also are contested on the Republican side.
In the 35th Senate District, the two Republicans running are Cherry Valley resident Dave Syverson, who has served in the Illinois Senate since 1993, and Eli Nicolosi of Rockford, who is running for state office for the first time.
Syverson, currently the Republican caucus whip in the Senate, is a partner with Gallagher insurance group in Rockford. Nicolosi has run a web marketing firm, Astute Web Group, since 2001, has been active in local campaigns and served on the Winnebago County Board from 2014 to 2018.
In the 66th House District, Gilberts resident Connie Cain and West Dundee resident Arin Thrower are vying to face incumbent state Rep. Suzanne Ness, D-Crystal Lake, in the general election.
Cain is a licensed accountant specializing in fraud investigations and dispute resolution who served in the Army Reserves for eight years. Thrower is former television producer who became the Dundee Township supervisor last year.
Four Republicans also are running for the vacancy on the Illinois Supreme Court in the 2nd District.
They include Kane County Circuit Court Trial Judge John A. Noverini, Lake County Circuit Court Judge Daniel B. Shanes, Appellate Court Judge Susan F. Hutchinson and former Lake County Sheriff and congressional candidate Mark Curran.
Curran and Hutchinson remained on the ballot despite objections that sought their removal.
Noverini was first elected as a Kane County trial judge in 2008. His time on the bench has involved serving in family, criminal, civil and specialty courtrooms. He also worked as an attorney in the banking world and in private practice.
Shanes has served as a Lake County judge for the past 16 years and as a presiding judge for more than 10 years, including now serving as the deputy chief judge of the circuit court.
Hutchinson was the first woman appointed to serve as an associate judge in the 19th Judicial Circuit, which included McHenry and Lake counties at the time. She has presided over family, criminal, juvenile, small claims and traffic matters.
Curran, a former Lake County sheriff and congressional candidate, has worked as Lake County coroner, a prosecutor and defense attorney. He has served as an assistant attorney general in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Two of McHenry County’s four congressional districts are contested on the Republican side.
Six Republicans are running for the nomination to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in the November election in the 11th Congressional District. Foster is uncontested on his party’s ballot.
Of the six Republicans, only one – Mark Joseph Carroll of North Aurora – has previously held an elected office. Carroll, an attorney with Mutual of Omaha, has served as a North Aurora village trustee since 2014.
Warrenville native Jerry Evans said he was a political outsider, never holding office before. The music teacher and small-business owner holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Wheaton College.
Republican Andrea Heeg, of the Geneva area, has worked in various industries in marketing events roles and as a contractor to the Department of Energy, according to a questionnaire she filled out for a website affiliated with AFA Action, a group that seeks “to inform and mobilize individuals to strengthen the biblical foundations of America.”
Susan Hathaway-Altman, of rural Geneva, said she holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and is currently a vice president of business development. Hathaway-Altman said she has worked in financial and travel-related fields.
Catalina Lauf of Woodstock was presidentially appointed as a special adviser on minority business development at the Department of Commerce during the Trump administration. Lauf, who spoke during the 2020 Republican National Convention, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the 14th District in 2020.
Cassandra Tanner Miller of Elgin became a domestic violence advocate after the death of her son, Colton. She championed an Illinois law named after her son, which created a task force to protect victims of domestic violence.
In the 16th Congressional District, which now includes the northwest corner of McHenry County, four Republicans are vying to replace U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who is not seeking reelection.
The four candidates include three political newcomers and Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, who has served three terms representing Illinois’ 18th District.
LaHood, who was born and raised in Peoria, served in the Illinois state Senate from 2011 to 2014 and before that was an assistant U.S. attorney in Las Vegas.
Rockford native Walt Peters is a retired engineer whose campaign card reads “regular citizen, amateur politician.” Trucker and former limo business owner Michael Rebresh lives in Minooka but grew up in Texas. Rockford attorney JoAnne Guillemette is a former teacher and social worker and has handled cases in four states as well as the District of Columbia.
In the race for the U.S. Senate, seven Republican candidates are vying for the chance to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth in the fall. They include retired IT professional Casey Chlebek of Lake Forest, retired law enforcement officer Peggy Hubbard of Belleville, Geneva investment manager Bobby Piton, Chicago author and publisher Jimmy Lee Tillman II, Dolton pastor Anthony W. Williams, Mundelein attorney Kathy Salvia and Naperville radio executive Matt Dubiel.
Among the contested statewide races on the Republican side are those for governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
The six pairs of candidate for governor and lieutenant governor include state Sen. Darren Bailey and former talk radio host Stephanie Trussell; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf and McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin and state Rep. Avery Bourne, McHenry County businessman Gary Rabine and Palatine Township Highway Commissioner Aaron Del Mar, Hazel Crest attorney Max Solomon and Christian Home Educators Support System founder Latasha Fields, and venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan and Republican strategist Kathleen Murphy.
Three candidates are running for the chance to face incumbent Attorney General Kwame Raoul in the fall. They include former Illinois Human Rights Commissioner Steve Kim of Deerfield, former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney David Shestokas of Orland Park, and Thomas DeVore of Sorrento, who led many of the legal fights against the state’s COVID-19 mandates.
The race for the Republican secretary of state nomination pits former state Rep. and Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady against former U.S. attorney John Milhiser.