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posted: 3/20/2012 9:59 PM

Calabresa wins Lake County Board race

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  • Carol Calabresa

    Carol Calabresa


Lake County Board member Carol Calabresa won a solid victory in the Republican primary for her long-held seat Tuesday.

With ballots in all 22 precincts counted, unofficial results showed Calabresa -- a county commissioner since 1986 -- topped rival Dan Donahue in her first primary contest since 1998.

Calabresa was ahead with 2,082 votes, or roughly 57 percent, unofficial results showed. Donahue had 1,572 votes, or about 43 percent.

Calabresa will face two-time foe Democrat Del Parra in November's general election. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Calabresa, 67, of Libertyville, is among the board's longest-serving members, and she campaigned on her experience.

In the weeks leading to Election Day, Calabresa knocked on countless doors and talked a lot about her tenure, which included two years as president of the Lake County Forest Preserve District board.

She also reminded people of the work she's done to preserve open space across the county, a hallmark of her years on the two boards.

Calabresa believes those efforts resonated with voters.

"They said they would vote for me because of my experience and the legacy of work I've done with the forest preserve district," she said. "They value hard work and (someone) earning their respect."

Donahue, 58, also of Libertyville, had never before run for office in Lake County.

A project manager with an architectural firm, he serves on Libertyville's plan commission and its zoning board of appeals. He's also married to well-known Republican activist Antonietta Simonian.

Donahue said he entered the county board race because he was upset with how Calabresa and other county commissioners treated Libertyville officials during discussions about a master development plan for the county campus on Winchester Road.

That remained his primary issue during the campaign, even as votes were being counted Tuesday.

Donahue said he lost because "old Libertyville doesn't look favorably on upstarts and challenges."

Despite his criticisms of Calabresa, Donahue said he would back her campaign against Parra in the general election.

Calabresa soundly defeated Parra in the 2006 and 2010 general elections. When asked if she was confident she could beat him again, Calabresa demurred.

"I will still work very hard to earn the votes of residents in District 15," she said.

The 15th District includes Libertyville and part of Mundelein.

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