The McHenry County Board will remain composed of 22 Republicans and two Democrats, with Republican chairman Ken Koehler eking out a win in his district, according to unofficial election results. The results Tuesday night did not include late absentee and provisional ballots.
All 24 seats on the board were up for election. Each of the county's six districts is represented by four board members. Term limits will be determined in a random drawing on Dec. 3, when the chairman and vice chairman also will be selected.
In District 1, Republican incumbents Anna May Miller, of Cary, was the top vote-getter with 11,547 votes, followed by Robert Nowak, 60, who lives just outside of Cary, who had 11,388 votes. Democratic challenger Nick Chirikos, of Algonquin, got 10,856 votes, and Republican challenger Yvonne Barnes, of Cary, a former county board member who owns a small technical communications business, got 10,450 votes. Incumbent Republican Robert Bless, of Fox River Grove, lost his re-election bid after coming under heavy criticism from Chirikos for his pending court cases and ethics complaints related to his work as a police officer and attorney. Chirikos works in green building products and chairs the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission.
In District 2, longtime Republican Chairman Ken Koehler was in fourth place with 9,190 votes, following Republican incumbent and top vote-getter Donna Kurtz, who had 11,496 votes, Republican incumbent Jim Heisler, who had 9,768 votes, and Republican challenger and Crystal Lake City Council member Carolyn Schofield, with 9,648 votes.
Koehler, from Crystal Lake, has served on the board since 2000 and as chairman since 2004. Some county board members have said it's time for a new chairman.
Behind the others were Democratic challengers James Kennedy, with 8,702 votes, and Jim Roden, with 7,710 votes.
In District 3, the four Republicans -- Nick Provenzano, Mary McClellan, Michael Walkup, and Joseph Gottemoller -- led the vote tally. Incumbent Democrat Kathleen Bergan Schmidt, from Crystal Lake, lost her re-election bid. "I think the Republican voters came out with a vengeance this time around," she said Tuesday night.
Provenzano, from McHenry, the director of government affairs for a nonprofit global trade center, got 11,937 votes. McClellan, from Holiday Hills, an attorney in the civil division of the Cook County state's attorney's office, got 11,623 votes. Walkup, from Crystal Lake, an attorney and organic farmer who has served on the McHenry County Regional Planning Commission, got 11,545 votes. Gottemoller, from Crystal Lake, an attorney who served as trustee for the McHenry County Conservation District, got 11,388 votes.
In District 4, Republican incumbent John Hammerand was the top vote-getter, followed by Republican incumbents Sandra Fay Salgado and Sue Draffkorn, and Republican challenger Robert Martens. Democratic challenger Margaret Maule lost.
Hammerand, from Wonder Lake, is a small-business owner. Draffkorn, of Wonder Lake, is a bookkeeper. Salgado, of McHenry, said the quality of life in McHenry County must remain high without raising taxes.
In District 5, Republican challenger Michael Skala, of Huntley, was the top vote-getter with 9,857 votes, followed by Republican incumbents John Jung Jr., of Woodstock, with 9,441 votes, and Tina Hill, of Woodstock, with 9,402 votes, and Democratic incumbent Paula Yensen, who was elected to a second term with 8,969 votes. Republican challenger Michael Rein was in fifth place with 8,678 votes, followed by Green Party candidate Frank Wedig, who only got 3,993 votes.
Skala serves as school board president for Huntley Unit District 158. "(Voters) see my no-nonsense approach. I look out for taxpayers, but also make things fair for residents that live in the county," he said.
In District 6, four Republicans were elected in what was by far the most crowded field with eight candidates, including three Democrats and an independent.
Republican incumbent Diane Evertsen, of Harvard, was the top-vote getter with 10,716 votes, followed by Republican incumbent Mary McCann, of Woodstock, who had 10,658 votes, and Republican challenger Michele Aavang, of Woodstock, the vice president of the McHenry County Farm Bureau, who got 10,486 votes. Rounding out the top for was Republican incumbent Ersel Schuster, of Woodstock, with 9,086 votes.
Also in the race were independent challenger Larry Smith, who got 8,015 votes, and Democratic challengers Ryan Heuser, with 8,503 votes, Scott Summers, with 7,669 votes, and Jayant Kadakia with 5,625 votes.