After a heated race for McHenry County Sheriff, Republican incumbent Keith Nygren will keep his job, claiming well over half the vote in his race against his Democratic challenger Mike Mahon.
With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Nygren had 58 percent of the vote to Mahon's 36 percent. Green candidate Gus Philpott had 5 percent, according to unofficial vote totals.
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Mahon formed his campaign around the need to remove Nygren, calling him out of touch and a liability. Mahon criticized Nygren's second home in Florida and said he would be a "full-time" sheriff.
Mahon proposed a $1 million reduction in expenditures for the sheriff's department, possible through the removal of 10 supervisor positions.
Mahon said Tuesday night he was proud of his team and wouldn't change a thing. Though he didn't win, Mahon was glad he was able to give an eye-opener to McHenry County and the sheriff, who hasn't faced any serious challenges in general elections for years.
"Any political office, you can't let them go unchecked," Mahon said. "When they go unchecked, they get complacent. I think we saw a lot of Keith Nygren getting complacent."
Nygren, the 13-year sheriff, rejected a majority of Mahon's criticisms during the campaign, claiming they revealed his inexperience. He dismissed Mahon's budget cuts, citing a vital need for every one of the positions. One of his major goals for the next term will be to expand the jail bed rental program, which has so far generated more than $61 million in fees for holding those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"We have many things we want to accomplish in the sheriff's department," Nygren said Tuesday night.
Another local race, for the 22nd District Circuit Court, was significantly calmer. Republican Gordon Graham, who served as a judge in McHenry County for 13 years, won the race with 65 percent of the vote, according to unofficial vote totals. Independent candidate Sally Oeffling Wiggins ran with the belief that judges shouldn't be partisan. She called attention to her experience in intellectual property law, but in the end, won only 35 percent of the vote.
In the county clerk's race, 20-year incumbent Republican Katherine Schultz led Democratic challenger Mark Freund. Schultz finished the race with 70 percent of the vote to Freund's 30 percent, unofficial vote totals show.