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updated: 12/4/2013 5:05 PM

DuPage County's primary races set for March

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Editor's note: Story was adjusted Dec. 4 to correct information about the Will County Sheriff's race.

The final day of filing for the March primary brought several surprises Monday, including news that Democrats in DuPage County will have a contested race to pick one of their county board nominees.

Now that candidates for countywide, county board and forest preserve seats have filed their nominating petitions, it's known that DuPage will have five contested primary races.

Two of those March 18 primary races will determine which two candidates for the county board's District 4 will square off during the general election in November 2014.

Board member Grant Eckhoff, the District 4 incumbent, had known for a week that he was going to face Paula McGowen of Glen Ellyn in the GOP primary. But less than an hour before the weeklong filing period ended Monday, Wheaton resident Ronald Almiron entered the primary race.

"I'm running as a Republican because I believe I could bring something to the table that the other two candidates can't," said Almiron, a 47-year-old attorney.

As for the Democratic primary to decide who will run in the fall for the 4th District, Jeremy Custer will face former York Township Trustee Moon Khan.

Custer, who works for state Sen. Tom Cullerton, says he wants to become a county board member because he has several ideas for reform he would like to pursue.

"As someone who day to day does the actual constituent service work for so many residents in DuPage County, I'm in a unique spot where I can connect the dots between the residents who are getting the services and the government that's delivering the services," said Custer, a 25-year-old Glendale Heights resident.

Khan, who lives in Lombard, was a Republican until he switched parties several months ago. He had served as a Republican precinct committeeman for about a decade.

In District 6, county board member Lauren Nowak won't have an opponent during the Democratic primary.

But three Republicans want the chance to challenge Nowak in the general election. Kevin Wiley of West Chicago, Erica Lynne Sutton of Wayne and Valerie Ann Bruggeman of West Chicago have entered the GOP primary race for District 6.

Bruggeman describes herself as a fiscal conservative who is interested in issues that affect seniors.

"I want to make sure the county remains a place that my kids want to come back to and raise their families," said Bruggeman, 50.

Other county board incumbents seeking another term are Paul Fichtner, Peter DiCianni, John Curran and Tonia Khouri. Curran, who represents District 3, is expected to face Democrat Pamela Miles in November 2014.

When it comes to countywide positions in DuPage, there will be only one primary race. Forest preserve commissioners Mary Lou Wehrli of Naperville and Joe Cantore of Oak Brook are running for the district's presidency in the GOP primary to replace retiring D. "Dewey" Pierotti Jr.

DuPage won't have any primary races for county clerk, county board chairman, treasurer and sheriff. And the filing period for regional superintendent of schools doesn't end until later this month.

However, Sheriff John Zaruba, who has been sheriff since 1997, is expected to face a general election challenge from Mike Quiroz of West Chicago.

Another surprise is that the Republican looking to replace longtime County Clerk Gary King also will face a Democratic opponent next fall.

Democrat Jean Kaczmarek announced she's running for the office that the retiring King has held since 1986. She will face Paul Hinds, King's chief deputy, during the general election.

Kaczmarek says she would like to see the responsibilities of the county election commission folded back into the county clerk's office. DuPage has had a separate election commission for decades.

"The positions of clerk and deputy clerk are paid far better in DuPage than any other county in Illinois -- collectively $300,000 in salary and stipends, plus full benefits -- yet they have the least amount of responsibility," the 56-year-old Glen Ellyn resident said in a statement. "We're not getting our money's worth."

All three of the forest preserve commissioners up for election -- Shannon Burns, Linda Painter and Marsha Murphy -- are running again. However, Painter is the only one with a primary opponent. The Republican incumbent will face Joseph Wozniak, a Naperville resident who is serving on the College of DuPage board.

Burns and Murphy both are expected to have challengers during the general election.

Republican Al Murphy, who was defeated by Burns during the November 2012 election, wants to face her again. And Democrat Evan Wolfe of Addison is seeking the District 1 seat held by Marsha Murphy.

Meanwhile in neighboring Will County, County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots and Treasurer Steve Weber are seeking re-election. Weber will face Democrat Laurie Summers in the general election. Two Republicans and three Democrats are running for sheriff. Incumbent Paul Kaupas is not seeking re-election.

In addition, both seats in Will County Board District 11, which includes Naperville, are up for election. Those seats are held by Naperville Republicans Charles "Chuck" Maher and Suzanne Hart, who are both seeking re-election. Republican Michael "Big Mike" Strick of Naperville is looking to defeat one of the incumbents during the GOP primary.

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