McHenry County auditor to run for state comptroller

Shannon Teresi was appointed county auditor in 2018 and reelected to the position in 2020

Shannon Teresi watches as results come in on the overhead televisions during an election night watch party for local republicans at Niko's Red Mill Tavern on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in Woodstock.

McHenry County Auditor Shannon Teresi was the latest McHenry County Republican to announce a run for a statewide office on Wednesday when she said she will run for comptroller.

Teresi, who has been the county’s auditor since she was appointed to the job in 2018 by Democratic Board Chairman Jack Franks, posted her campaign announcement on Twitter. She pledged to use her experience working to save taxpayers money in McHenry County to tackle the state’s financial troubles.

“Illinois needs a Comptroller with real financial experience, not a career politician controlled by the special interests,” Teresi said in a statement.

Teresi, a Crystal Lake resident, would take on Susana Mendoza in the November election. Mendoza is a Democrat who was elected to the statewide office in 2016 following five years as the city clerk of Chicago and another 10 years as a state representative.

“Throughout my career, I have seen firsthand how important transparency is in the process of managing taxpayer dollars,” Teresi said. “That’s what I promise to bring to the office of Comptroller: open communication with the taxpayers and an eagle eye to root out the waste, fraud, and abuse our state is plagued by thanks to decades of Madigan Machine politics.”

Teresi received 74% of the vote over a libertarian candidate in the 2020 election.

McHenry County Board member Jeff Thorsen, R-Crystal Lake, is the the chairman of her campaign, according to state records.

The comptroller is responsible for managing the state’s bank accounts and paying the state’s bills.

Under Mendoza’s leadership, the comptroller began providing more publicly available information about the state of Illinois’ finances. The comptroller’s office now issues monthly debt reports under a law approved by state lawmakers in 2018.

Mendoza, who took office during the state’s budget impasse under Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, also has touted progress her office made last year paying down bills that pilled up during that time. Last spring, Mendoza announced her office had paid off the state’s bills to a point where they can now be paid when they arrive.

“Through smart financial management and fiscal discipline coupled with tenacious perseverance, I’ve successfully navigated our state through unprecedented fiscal challenges,” Mendoza said in a statement Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, the state’s bill backlog had dropped by $12.3 billion from its highest point in 2017, according to the comptroller’s office.

Democratic Party of Illinois Executive Director Abby Witt released a statement on Teresi’s announcement calling her the “puppet” of Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin.

“No matter who Ken Griffin picks for his latest political game, Illinois voters won’t be fooled – the Rauner Reboot is destined to be a flop,” Witt said.

Teresi said she brings her own experience saving taxpayers money to the race. She said she modernized McHenry County’s auditing process by making audits available online. As an employee of the county’s auditor office prior to being elected, she said she saw how wasteful government can be and has worked to correct those problems.

Teresi said she also has private sector experience as an accountant and in auditing and financial management that will be beneficial in the position of comptroller.

As McHenry County’s auditor, Teresi’s office found 27 issues in a July 2021 audit of the Regional Office of Education, which McHenry County Board members used as a basis for removing Regional Superintendent Leslie Schermerhorn from office.

Despite being appointed by Franks, Teresi butted heads with the former Democrat chairman of the County Board in 2020 over informational mailers sent out about COVID-19. Teresi denied the purchase order for the mailer because it did not receive approval from the County Board. She said the mailers needed approval from the board because they cost more than $30,000. Franks proceeded to call her “incompetent.”

Teresi does not currently have an opponent in the June 28 Republican primary, the winner of which will likely face off against Mendoza in the Nov. 8 election. The Republican primary for comptroller hasn’t been contested in Illinois since 2010.

On Tuesday, McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake, announced she would run for lieutenant governor as Paul Schimpf’s running mate in the Republican primary for governor. Bull Valley businessman Gary Rabine also is running for the Republican nomination for governor.