After more than a year of campaigning, voters headed to the polls Tuesday to choose the new sheriff of McHenry County.
The race, which pitted Undersheriff Robb Tadelman against former Police Chief and restauranteur Tony Colatorti, garnered plenty of attention among this year’s slate of county-level primaries, becoming a question of the efficiency and direction of the office going forward.
As of about 11 p.m., Tadelman was leading with 16,786 votes, or about 59% of the vote, to Colatorti’s 11,433, or 41%, according to unofficial totals with 100% of precincts fully reported.
The results do not include provisionally cast ballot or late-arriving mail-in ballots, but they do include Election Day, early and mail-in ballots. The race also will not be official until it is canvassed two weeks from Tuesday.
Watching the results from a venue in Huntley, Tadelman said he’d been trying to occupy his mind throughout the day.
“It’s been a long journey,” he said. “I haven’t been able to sleep in a couple of weeks now. It’ll be nice to relax and know it’s over.”
Colatorti, who watched the results come in from his restaurant in Algonquin, also noted the stress of the campaign. He said he thinks he ran a “good, clean campaign” and is looking forward to a vacation after the election is over.
“I feel good,” he said. “We’re hoping we’re going to get a win tonight. But the people are going to choose.”
Incumbent Sheriff Bill Prim said in March 2021 that he would not seek reelection, announcing his support for Tadelman as part of the news.
Both candidates at numerous junctions have criticized each other, including their strategies, qualifications and the tenor of their campaigns.
Tadelman, who is the current undersheriff and has almost 20 years of experience in the office, has said he thinks the office’s work on crime prevention speaks for itself and thinks the agency is strong in its policies and programs. Training in particular is one aspect he said he wanted to focus on.
Colatorti, who himself has spent about 20 years in law enforcement, including as a police chief twice, is a business owner. He’s called the way the agency currently is run a “good ol’ boys club.” He said he also wants to look for ways to save money.
Tadelman supported – but said he was not involved in – an effort to have Colatorti thrown off the ballot due to questions about his qualifications meeting a new state law. Colatorti won on the question of the objection three times, with the most recent win coming from an appellate court in June upholding two previous decisions.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars on each side of the race has been spent, as well, as several notable Republicans, both in and out of McHenry County, have thrown their support behind both candidates.
In addition to each having their fair share of supporters within the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Colatorti has received support from current McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, Grafton Township Republican Party Chairman Orville Brettmann and Lake County sheriff’s candidate Mark Vice. Other endorsements include McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett.
Tadelman, meanwhile, has been supported financially by Prim, McHenry County Board Chairman Mike Buehler, former County Board member Lou Anne Majewski and former McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi. Other endorsements include Huntley Village President Timothy Hoeft.