McHenry County Board Chair Mike Buehler files for reelection as candidates begin lining up for March primary

So far, no challenger has filed; state’s attorney, coroner, auditor yet to submit paperwork on 1st day of filing

Candidates wait to file their candidate forms on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office. Monday was the first day for candidates to file ahead of the March primaries.

It’s only been eight months since the last election, but candidates began filing their paperwork Monday for the next one.

Besides the presidential, Congressional and state legislative races, voters in McHenry County will choose Republican and Democratic nominees in the March 19 primary for several countywide offices – county board chairperson, state’s attorney, coroner, auditor and court clerk – along with half the county board seats and a judgeship.

Among those in line to file their paperwork by 8 a.m. Monday morning – ensuring a shot at being the first name listed on the primary ballot – were County Board Chairman Michael Buehler and Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Keefe, both Republicans. As of early Monday, no one else had filed to run for those offices from either of the two main political parties.

Buehler said he hopes to continue progress on large projects, mentioning internet expansion in the county in particular.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal,” Buehler said.

Democratic County Board member Kelli Wegener, who has announced plans to run for county board chair, had not yet. submitted paperwork, but said later Monday she intends to do so later this week.

Wegener said some of her priorities for office include mental health, gun violence reduction and expanding internet access in the north and western portions of the county.

McHenry County Board member Carl Kamienski files his paperwork on Monday, Nov, 27, 2023, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock to run for reelection next year . Monday was the first day for candidates to file ahead of the March primaries.

Also absent from the first filing of the day were State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, Coroner Michael Rein and Auditor Shannon Teresi, who ran unsuccessfully for Illinois comptroller last year. Neither the Republican incumbents, nor Democratic challengers, submitted nominating petitions for those countywide posts first thing Monday.

Rein, however, filed later Monday, as did Teresi.

Teresi said she is “looking forward” to the upcoming election. “I’m really passionate about what I do,” she said.

Kenneally said Monday he intends to seek reelection, and there’s still time for he and other 2024 candidates: The filing period to run in the March primary continues through Dec. 4.

Several Republican incumbents on the county board filed for reelection: John Reinert of Crystal Lake in District 2, Mike Shorten, also of Crystal Lake in District 4, Carl Kamienski of Johnnsburg in District 6, Tracie Von Bergen of Hebron in District 8 and Jim Kearns of Huntley in District 9.

As of Monday morning, only two Democrats had filed to run for the county board – and that list did not include incumbents Wegener in District 5, Lou Ness of Woodstock in District 7 or Theresa Meshes of Fox River Grove in District 1. Those who did file were John Collins of Crystal Lake in District 2 and Dawn Milarski of Hebron in District 8. Two Republicans, Deena Krieger of Island Lake and Republican Paul Thomas of Wonder Lake, filed to run in District 5 and 7, respectively.

Later Monday, Brian Dean Meyers and Dawn Jordi Ellison filed as Democrats to run in Districts 4 and 9, respectively.

Meshes said she intends to file Tuesday for reelection and said she believes her experience is a positive for the board.

“Having experienced board members is an asset,” Meshes said.

Several candidates mentioned keeping taxes low was a priority for them. Shorten said transportation was “top of mind” for him.

Von Bergen said senior services and rural communities were a priority for her.

“I want to continue working for the rural communities in our county,” Von Bergen said.

Reinert is hoping his candidacy will ensure his seat doesn’t change parties.

“We want to keep this seat Republican,” Reinert said.

Northwest Herald reporter Amanda Marrazzo contributed.