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updated: 11/7/2011 6:38 PM

Another Republican joins 31st state Senate race

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  • Local government watchdog Lennie Jarratt is running for the Republican nomination of 31st state Senate district.

      Local government watchdog Lennie Jarratt is running for the Republican nomination of 31st state Senate district.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer


The Republican field for the 31st state Senate seat grew Monday as Linwood "Lennie" Jarratt, an activist from Round Lake Beach and co-founder of the Lake County Tea Party, made his candidacy official.

"Somebody's got to step up and go to the state level and make the changes that are needed," said Jarratt, who owns a consulting firm specializing in website design and social media outreach.

Jarratt has been involved with several grass-roots good government-style issues the past several years and said he worked with a bipartisan coalition to elect 23 people to local offices. He also has filed several ethics complaints against officials at Grayslake Elementary District 46.

He said he would not have run against incumbent Suzi Schmidt. But the timing became right last week after Schmidt announced she would not seek re-election in 2012 in order to deal with family issues.

Jarratt is one of three Republicans seeking the party's nomination in the March 20 primary election. Former longtime Lake County Board member Larry Leafblad of Grayslake announced his candidacy several weeks ago as Schmidt's public issues mounted.

Michael White of Lindenhurst, a marketing and design expert for small businesses, made his intention to run public after Schmidt's decision. White ran as an independent for governor in 2010.

And the Republican field is expected to become more crowded before Nov. 28, the first day to file nominating papers with the Lake County Clerk. The 31st District encompasses northern Lake County.

"There may be more coming. I don't think the final group is set yet," said Bob Cook, Lake County Republican Party chairman. "I think, minimum, at least one more."

Jarratt said jobs and homes are being lost due to the "bad policies" in Springfield.

"Families are being taxed and fees raised to death while government keeps growing," he said. "We need to be supporting families instead of supporting government right now."

Leafblad described himself as a conservative Republican. He said he recently has secured the minimum 1,000 nominating signatures and is working to get more as a cushion.

White said he is "closing in" on the required 1,000 signatures. He said small businesses are struggling and his focus will be on jobs.

For Democrats, Lake County Board member Melinda Bush of Grayslake is the only announced candidate for the 31st District seat.

"The reason I've decided to run has not changed," she said Monday. "The people of the district deserve better representation."

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