A dearth of candidates: McHenry County voters will see few contested races in March primary election

But November general election could be contentious

Incumbent Eric Hendricks checks over his paper work as he files his candidate forms to run for reelection for McHenry Count Board District 3 on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock. Monday was the last day for candidates to file ahead of the March primaries.

McHenry County voters will likely see fewer contested primary races in March the farther down-ballot they go, depending on where they live.

Races for some of the Congressional seats that cover parts of the county have multiple candidates running in the primary, but state and county races so far have few competitive primaries.

No Illinois state Senate seats representing McHenry County are on the ballot next year. Several State House seats will be up for grabs, though none of the races will have a competitive primary.

Incumbent Rep. Martin McLaughlin (R-Barrington Hills) of the 52nd District, which covers parts of Fox River Grove, Algonquin and Island Lake, has filed for reelection, as has Democratic challenger Maria Peterson of North Barrington.

In the 63rd District, covering parts of McHenry, Crystal Lake, Cary and Woodstock, incumbent Rep. Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) filed for reelection late Monday. Democratic candidate Mary Mahady (D-McHenry) filed to run for the seat.

Rep. Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) of the 64th District, which encompasses Johnsburg, Spring Grove, parts of Wonder Lake and Richmond, has a clear path to the nomination and possibly to reelection, since he is the only candidate who filed to run for the seat.

Rep. Suzanne Ness (D-Crystal Lake) filed for reelection in the 66th District, encompassing parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and Lakewood. She will face Republican Laurie Parman of Sleepy Hollow in the general election.

In the 69th District, covering parts of Huntley, Marengo, Harvard and Hebron, incumbent Rep. Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford) filed for reelection. Marengo Democrat Peter Janko also filed to run for the seat.

In the 70th District, covering parts of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, Rep. Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) filed to run for reelection, and Cortland Democrat Randi Olson also submitted paperwork for the seat.

In McHenry County countywide races, Republican incumbents Patrick Kenneally, Shannon Teresi, Michael Rein and Katherine Keefe have submitted petitions to run for additional terms for state’s attorney, auditor, coroner and circuit court clerk, respectively.

All have a clear path to renomination, as not a single Republican challenger filed for any of the seats. No Democrats have filed to run against them, either, though the Democratic Party could potentially slate candidates for November after the primary election.

McHenry Count Clerk Joe Tirio talks with Anne Boone, who is running for Algonquin Township district 57 before she files her candidate forms on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at the McHenry County Clerk's Office in Woodstock. Monday was the last day for candidates to file ahead of the March primaries.

McHenry County Board Chair Mike Buehler (R-Crystal Lake) has filed for reelection, and will compete against County Board member Kelli Wegener (D-Crystal Lake) in November.

Many of the county board races will be contested next November, but only two primary races feature multiple candidates.

The Republican primary in District 3, covering parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood and Algonquin, is one of the contested primaries on the county board and the only one featuring an incumbent. Both candidates filed Monday afternoon for the seat, and incumbent Eric Hendricks (R-Lake in the Hills) was the second-to-last candidate to file in McHenry County, doing so just before 4 p.m. Monday.

Hendricks said his main priority in running for re-election is “trying to lower the county’s property tax burden.”

Hendricks will compete against Robert “Bob” Nowak (R-Algonquin) for the nomination in March. No Democrat filed to run for the seat.

District 5, covering parts of McHenry, Island Lake, Holiday Hills, Prairie Grove, Oakwood Hills and Cary, is an open seat because incumbent Wegener is running for county board chair. No members of the Democratic Party filed to replace Wegener on the board.

Wegener said Monday she had talked to people about running, but added the potential candidates couldn’t get the time off work to attend meetings held during the workday.

“I wish we had someone running in that seat,” Wegener said.

The seat could flip to Republican next election. GOP candidate Deena Krieger of Island Lake was the only person from either party to file for the seat.

Incumbent Lou Ness (D-Woodstock), whose 7th District includes parts of Greenwood, Bull Valley, Wonder Lake, McHenry and Woodstock, has a clear shot to be the Democratic nominee, as she does not have a primary challenger.

However, the Republican primary in District 7 is the other contested primary. Republicans Paul Thomas and Peter Suffield will compete against each other in the March primary. The winner will face Ness in November’s general election.

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