September 30, 2022


2022 Illinois primary election: Ebner on her way to GOP nomination for clerk after Stohr concedes

Sheriff, treasurer both uncontested

Jennifer Ebner of Peru appeared to grab the GOP nomination for La Salle County Clerk late Tuesday after Steven Stohr of Ottawa conceded in a tight race.

Ebner finished with an unofficial total of 4,245 votes to Stohr’s 3,800. She now goes on to face incumbent Lori Bongartz, an Ottawa Democrat who was unopposed in the Tuesday primary.

“Thank you, the voters, for putting your confidence in me,” Ebner said. “Thank you to Steve for keeping this election clean and above board. I look forward to meeting more and more of you and earning your vote on November 8th.”

Ebner, child care/business owner, has been an active member of the La Salle County Republican Central Committee since January of 2021. She has been on several committees, including chairwoman of the election integrity committee.

“I would like to thank everybody that supported me in my bid for the county clerk’s position,” said Stohr, director of transportation for Ottawa Elementary School District and a business owner (the Tax Stohr). “It was an interesting and educational experience.”

The sheriff and treasurer positions both were uncontested, as Adam Diss, a Republican, is the lone candidate for sheriff and James Spelich, a Republican, is the lone candidate for treasurer.

Four contested primary races for La Salle County Board seats also were settled, according to preliminary totals.

District 5

Incumbent Catherine Owens leads John L. Middleton, a farmer in Northville Township and, for the past 15 years, road commissioner for Northville Township, to keep a seat on the La Salle County Board. The unofficial total was 282-210 in Owens’ favor. Owens is a retired registered nurse and resident of rural Sandwich/Northville Township who has served on the County Board for 14 years.

“I appreciate the people who supported me and voted for me,” Owens said.

District 9

Ray Gatza of Dimmick Township, an operations manager for United Natural Foods Inc., finished with a preliminary total of 228-62 over fellow Republican Joseph Nuske, a retired machinist and small business owner of La Salle. Gatza faces Democrat Carolyn Moore in the November election.

“I am happy to see the voters were happy with what I stated in the interview with the newspaper and all the meet & greets I have been involved with,” Gatza said. “I will not disappoint the local community when I am elected to county board.”

District 11

Rick O’Sadnick of Peru held an unofficial lead of 125-97 over fellow Republican Martin Rue Jr. of Peru. O’Sadnick will vie for the seat held by Democrat Joe Witczak. Witczak was removed from the ballot, but runs as a write-in. O’Sadnick is a senior scientist at Benzaco Scientific.

“I want to thank the common-sense, conservative voters of District 11,” O’Sadnick said. “Thank you for turning out to vote for me. Your support is much appreciated. The majority of us citizens in La Salle County are not progressive, anti-American bastions of the State of Illinois. I propose to bring individual liberty back to us citizens. No mandates ever again.”

District 16

William J. Brown Jr., a retiree, held an unofficial total of 160-116 over Nicole Mertes, both of Utica. Brown would face Democrat Joseph Panzica Jr. of Utica if the lead holds.

“I would just like to thank all my voters and ask for their support again in November,” Brown said.

Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Tom Collins covers criminal justice in La Salle County.