After the death of state Rep. Mark Beaubien last year, Kent Gaffney of Lake Barrington was tapped to fill his 52nd District seat. Aiming to keep the job, Gaffney now faces two intelligent and earnest Republican challengers: longtime activist and former U.S. House candidate David McSweeney of Barrington Hills and political newcomer Danielle Rowe of Island Lake. The race had a rocky start as Gaffney and Rowe survived ballot challenges by the McSweeney camp. Rowe, a marketing executive, is running a grass-roots campaign with zeal and commitment to principles. McSweeney, a financial consultant, offers ambitious proposals to stabilize the stateís fiscal crisis. But we endorse Gaffney, who is grounded by a realistic and practical approach to budgetary stewardship, having spent more than a decade as budget director for House Republicans. Since taking the seat in June, Gaffney has been an active participant in his caucusís talks on pension reform and other key issues. He is familiar with how Springfield works and, since his June appointment, has demonstrated an ability to negotiate. In addition, his state financial know-how provides an authoritative boost for lawmakers in the budgeting process. He aims to apply that knowledge to benefit his district, which includes western Lake County and portions of the Barrington and Crystal Lake areas.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.