Kurt Kojzarek, a 33-year-old Elgin resident vying for the Republican nomination in Kane County's 19th District seat, has attracted backing from some experienced political heavy weights.
Former State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger has joined his campaign team and Chris Lauzen, a longtime Republican state senator who is now running for Kane County Board chairman, has endorsed the candidate.
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Kojzarek met Rauschenberger when he was working in Springfield for House minority leaders Lee Daniels and Tom Cross as a policy analyst. Kojzarek also has supported Lauzen on most of his campaigns. The pair even worked together in 2010 when they were co-chairs for Bill Brady's failed campaign for governor. He and Lauzen have known each other for 10 years.
"These are two guys that were part of the 'Fab Five' for the state senate," Kojzarek said. "They're two of the most well-known reformers in Illinois."
Those names, however, don't impress Victor LaPorte, who is running against Kojzarek.
LaPorte, 58, of Elgin, dismisses Kojzarek as a political insider and questions his opponent's ability to remain independent with those big names behind him.
"I'm not part of the Republican establishment," said LaPorte, who ran for the same seat two years ago as an independent. "I only answer to the people and the Constitution of the United States. And I don't owe anything to anybody, including Chris Lauzen and Steve Rauschenberger."
LaPorte, a retired and disabled elevator technician and member of the Elgin Tea Party Patriots and the National Rifle Association, has endorsements of his own.
Both Pete Malone of St. Charles and Al Schroder Jr. of Elgin, both precinct committeemen, are backing LaPorte.
Kojzarek is the Elgin Township Clerk and says he would resign from that post if elected to the county board.
He works for a property management firm in Rolling Meadows, said he does not consider himself a political insider and that LaPorte needs to stick to the issues.
"I think that he's grasping at straws, trying to throw out insider versus outsider," Kojzarek said. "We're both people that want to reform and I can't understand why he can't just go with that."
Both men are running for the seat long occupied by Cathy Hurlbut, who is seeking the Kane County Circuit Court Clerk's seat this election season.
The 19th District includes parts of Elgin, Carpentersville, Gilberts and Sleepy Hollow.