Political newcomer Tim Elenz is a Streamwood businessman convinced he is the right man to pull together the Democratic Party and find solutions in Springfield, rather than just talk.
Elenz is challenging incumbent Sen. Michael Noland, of Elgin, for the 22nd District spot in the March 20 Democratic primary. He said the district needs better representation and he's making his first foray into politics at the state level because that's where the "dire need" is.
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But some in the Democratic Party question his loyalties.
David Reece, Dundee Township Democratic Chairman, said Elenz is one of the candidates in the primary suspected of being Republican whose aim is to get incumbents to spend more early on and weaken re-election bids -- an accusation Elenz vehemently denies.
Though Elenz has voted Republican four out of seven times in the last decade, according to records from the Cook County Clerk's Office, he said he has been working for the Democratic Party since he was a kid putting fliers on doorknobs with his dad in their Chicago ward.
"I've had personal friends run in Republican primaries," Elenz said. "Because they're friends and family members I have voted for them."
But Elenz can rattle off a history of involvement in the Democratic Party to pad his case, including employment in the offices of Chicago Democrats.
Reece and the Dundee Township Democrats have focused on several races in Kane County, including the District 20 board race and the bid for the board chairman position. He said Republican candidates running in Democratic primaries is not a new strategy, but an organized effort he aims to confront this election.
"It's a typical Republican dirty trick and we're not going to take it anymore," Reece said.
Noland, who was elected to fill Steve Rauschenberger's vacated seat in 2007, is a lawyer hoping to bring more money to his district for projects like Elgin's riverfront redevelopment and regional transit in a second term.
"The work's not done," Noland said. "We have probably our most historic votes lying ahead."
Both candidates point to pension reform, education and health care as major issues to confront in the state senate. And Noland said regardless of Elenz's actual political affiliation, the campaign will give both candidates a chance to address the issues.