March 04, 2024
Election


Election

Election 2022: Nine newcomers leading in race for McHenry County Board

New McHenry County Board will be sat in December

People watch election results during a Democratic election watch party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at The Cottage, 6 E. Crystal Lake Ave. in Crystal Lake.

Nine new faces were in the lead for a seat on the McHenry County Board, early unofficial results showed about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Results counted at that time included mail-in and early voting, with Election Day ballots in the process of being added, according to the McHenry County Clerk’s Office website. Provisional and late-arriving ballots were not included.

In total, 32 candidates across nine districts were vying for a seat, about half of whom are current board members. Up to 15 incumbents will be able to keep a seat, as one race, in District 1, has three current board members running for two seats.

Election results from Tuesday are not official and will be certified two weeks after the election.

The board is currently made up 24 members, but that will be reduced to 18 when the new board sits in December. The County Board voted in 2018 to reduce its size, a move that was finalized during the redistricting process that takes place every 10 years after the census.

In addition to reducing the board’s size, McHenry County increased its number of districts from six to nine. That means each district now will have two representatives instead of four, indicating the top two vote-getters from each district race will get a seat.

Back in March, eight of the board’s current 24 members did not file to rerun. They were Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake; Lori Parrish, R-Crystal Lake; Tanya Jindrich, D-Crystal Lake; Kay Bates R-McHenry; Carlos Acosta, D-Woodstock; John Jung, R-Woodstock; Paula Yensen D-Lake in the Hills; and Michele Aavang, R-Woodstock.

Among the nine races, the lead vote-getter from each race will secure a four-year term, while second place will get a two-year term.

For more information on each candidate, check out who’s on the ballot or the Northwest Herald Election Central page.

District 1

In District 1, one of two districts where five candidates were competing for two seats, incumbents Michael Vijuk, D-Cary, Theresa Meshes, D-Fox River Grove, and Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, were trying to hold on to their seats against challengers Matthew Kunkle, a Republican, and Kenneth Mattes, a Libertarian.

McHenry County Board district map

Meshes is a former teacher, and Vijuk has worked as a professor at Harper College. Wilbeck has experience in sales, Mattes is an entrepreneur, and Kunkle is a self-employed businessman.

Kunkle and Meshes were leading over Wilbeck, Vijuk and Mattes as of 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, according to totals that included early, Election Day and mail-in ballots. The totals do not include provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots.

Kunkle had 5,941 votes (27.7%) and Meshes had 5,435 votes (25.3%), the unofficial results show. They were followed by Wilbeck with 4,980 votes (23.2%), Vijuk with 4,508 (21%) and Mattes with 594 (2.8%).

Illinois State Sen. Craig Wilcox, left, talks with Tom Wilbeck, a McHenry County Board member from District 1, during a Republican election night watch party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at Niko's Red Mill Tavern, 1040 Lake Ave. in Woodstock. The event was hosted by Wilcox, McHenry County Board Chairman Mike Buehler, McHenry County Coroner Michael Rein, and McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio.

District 1 includes Cary, Fox River Grove and part of Algonquin.

District 2

District 2 was the other race with five candidates.

It has two current board members competing against two first-timers and one former board member.

John Collins, D-Crystal Lake, who was appointed to the board in 2021 to fill state Rep. Suzanne Ness’s seat, and Jeff Thorsen, R-Crystal Lake, were facing off against Republican John Reinert, who has been on the board previously; Democrat Gloria Van Hof; and Libertarian Jake Justen.

Van Hof was leading the group as of about 11:40 p.m., with Reinert in second. Thorsen and Collins followed, and Justen rounded out the group.

Gloria Van Hof, a candidate for the McHenry County Board in District 2, cheers as results are posted during a Democratic election watch party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at The Cottage, 6 E. Crystal Lake Ave. in Crystal Lake.

Van Hof had 4,923 votes (28%), followed by Reinert with 4,348 votes (24.7%), according to totals that included early, Election Day and mail-in ballots but not provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots. Thorsen followed with 3,974 votes (22.6%), Collins with 3,859 votes (22%) and Justen with 473 votes (2.7%).

Thorsen and Justen both have a background in banking, while Collins is a business owner. Reinert is a real estate agent and home developer, and Van Hof, a retired administrator at a long-term care facility, has a long history of volunteering around the county.

District 2 includes parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Algonquin and Lakewood.

District 3

Three candidates, two of whom are currently on the County Board, were vying for two spots in District 3.

Carolyn Campbell, D-Crystal Lake, was appointed to the board earlier this year to fill Jessica Phillip’s seat and has worked in a variety of roles to help protect the environment. Bob Nowak, R-Algonquin, has been a long-serving board member and before that worked for the village of Cary for more than two decades. Republican Eric Hendricks is a lawyer who graduated from law school in 2019.

Hendricks was the lead vote-getter in District 3 as of about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, ahead of Campbell in second and Nowak in third, according to totals that included early, Election Day and mail-in ballots but not provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots.

Hendricks had 5,377 votes (34.7%) and Campbell had 5,227 votes (33.8%), according to unofficial totals. Nowak had 4,884 votes (31.5%).

District 3 includes parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and Lakewood.

District 4

District 4 features four candidates but just one incumbent, Republican Joe Gottemoller, who is a lawyer and has been a member of the board for several years.

The other three candidates in the race are Republican Mike “Shorty” Shorten, who has been a Nunda Township trustee; Democrat Laura McGowen, a communications coordinator; and Democrat Dominic Petrucci, a special education instructor at McHenry High School District 156.

As of about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Gottemoller and Shorten were leading over Petrucci and McGowen, according to totals that included early, Election Day and mail-in ballots but not provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots.

Gottemoller had 6,347 votes (27.8%) followed by Shorten with 6,181 votes (27%), unofficial results show. McGowen had 5,856 votes (25.6%) and Petrucci had 4,473 votes (19.6%).

District 4 includes parts of Crystal Lake, Cary, Prairie Grove, Bull Valley, McHenry and Woodstock.

District 5

Two incumbents, Stephen Doherty, R-Crystal Lake, and Kelli Wegener, D-Crystal Lake, in District 5 were trying to hold on to their seat against Republican challenger Terri Greeno.

Greeno, a longtime stay-at-home mother who started a human resources business, has gone after Wegener at several junctures in the race. Wegener has a background in finance, while Doherty has previously worked at McHenry County College.

As of about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Greeno and Wegener were leading over Doherty, according to totals that included early, Election Day and mail-in ballots but not provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots.

Greeno had 5,937 votes (35.9%) and Wegener had 5,529 votes (33.5%), unofficial results show. Doherty had 5,061 votes (30.6%).

District 5 includes all or parts of Cary, Holiday Hills, Lakemoor, McHenry, Oakwood Hills, Port Barrington and Prairie Grove.

District 6

Incumbent Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, is the lone incumbent running in District 6. She faced fellow Republican Carl Kamienski and Democratic candidate Cece Adams.

Althoff has been in public service for a few decades, having served as a state senator and as mayor of McHenry before running for the board. Kamienski has been involved in other campaigns in the past but has never ran for office himself. Adams has been an election judge and volunteer.

As of about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Althoff and Kamienski were up, with Adams behind.

Althoff and Kamienski had 6,223 votes (38.7%) and 5,858 votes (36.5%), respectively, according to totals that included early and mail-in ballots as well as 100% of precincts reporting but no provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots. Adams had 3,986 votes (24.8%).

District 6 includes Fox Lake, Spring Grove, McHenry, Ringwood, McCullom Lake, Lakemoor and Johnsburg.

District 7

One incumbent, Jeffrey Schwartz, R-McHenry, ran in District 7 against Republican Brian Sager and Democrat Lou Ness.

Schwartz, an entrepreneur and former professional road racer, was appointed to the board in early 2021. Sager is the former mayor of Woodstock and, before that, was on the City Council for a number of years. Ness is the former executive director of the domestic abuse advocacy organization Turning Point, a position she held until her high-profile firing in 2004.

As of about 11 p.m., Sager and Ness were leading in the race over incumbent Schwartz.

Sager had 5,528 votes (39.3%), while Ness was in second with 4,760 votes (33.9%), according to totals that included early and mail-in ballots as well as 100% of precincts reporting but no provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots. Schwartz had 3,772 votes (26.8%).

District 7 includes all or parts of Woodstock, Wonder Lake, McHenry, Bull Valley and Greenwood.

District 8

Incumbents Tracie Von Bergen, R-Hebron, and Larry Smith, R-Harvard, faced Democrat Jack Kaskel for two seats in District 8.

Smith is a self-employed businessman, while Von Bergen has a history in business management and has been the Hebron Township assessor. Kaskel, a business owner, is seeking his first position in public office.

The incumbents were leading in District 9 as of about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Smith led the group, while Von Bergen was in second. Kaskel rounded out the trio.

Smith had 6,131 votes (40.4%), while Von Bergen had 5,206 votes (34.3%), according to totals that included early and mail-in ballots as well as 100% of precincts reporting but no provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots. Kaskel had 3,833 votes (25.3%).

District 8 includes all or parts of Richmond, Hebron, Harvard and Marengo.

District 9

Each of the three candidates running in District 9 have experience on the County Board, with Huntley Republicans Jim Kearns and Michael Skala hoping to retain their seats against former County Board member and Huntley Democrat Jessica Phillips.

Kearns is a business owner, while Skala is self-employed and has served on the County Board for about a decade. Before that, he served on the Huntley School District 158 Board for about 15 years.

Phillips was the first openly gay woman to be elected to the board before resigning in 2021 due to an out-of-district move.

As of about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday, Skala and Kearns were leading over Phillips, according to totals that included early, Election Day and mail-in ballots but not provisional or late-arriving mail-in ballots.

Skala had 6,286 votes (37.3%), and Kearns had 5,510 votes (32.7%). Phillips had 5,052 votes (30%), the unofficial results showed.

District 9 includes all or parts of Marengo, Union, Huntley and Lake in the Hills, as well as much unincorporated area.

James Norman

James T. Norman

James also goes by Jake and became a journalist to pursue a love of writing. He originally joined the ranks to be involved with football, but over time fell in love with community reporting and explaining policies. You can catch him at his computer or your local meeting.