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posted: 3/16/2014 8:00 AM

Here are the top races in McHenry, Kane counties

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  • Bill Prim, left, and Andrew Zinke are Republican candidates in the race for McHenry County sheriff.

    Bill Prim, left, and Andrew Zinke are Republican candidates in the race for McHenry County sheriff.

  • Don Kramer is a candidate for Kane County sheriff.

    Don Kramer is a candidate for Kane County sheriff.

  • Kevin Williams is a candidate for Kane County sheriff.

    Kevin Williams is a candidate for Kane County sheriff.

  • Jack Cunningham, left, and Mark Davoust are Republican candidates in the race for Kane County clerk.

    Jack Cunningham, left, and Mark Davoust are Republican candidates in the race for Kane County clerk.


Tuesday's most closely watched primary race in McHenry County pits Undersheriff Andrew Zinke against retired Des Plaines police commander Bill Prim for the sheriff's post on the Republican ticket.

Prim says morale is low, there is too much overspending, and a change of regime is sorely needed with the retirement of longtime Sheriff Keith Nygren.

Zinke says Prim is talking only to disgruntled employees who don't like the department's performance standards, and he argues the department has been fiscally responsible by reducing overtime costs.

Zinke was endorsed by Nygren while Prim was endorsed by McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi, who's been at odds with Nygren over the years.

Kane County sheriff

Don Kramer and Kevin Williams will square off in search of the Republican nomination for Kane County sheriff.

The two are no strangers to law enforcement, with more than five decades of combined experience between them.

Williams and Kramer lost races in 2006 and 2010, respectively, to Sheriff Pat Perez, who is not seeking a third term.

Currently a Kane County sheriff's lieutenant, Williams says he has the most support from rank-and-file sheriff's deputies and civilians.

Kramer, who retired from the sheriff's office as a lieutenant in 2009, said his time away from law enforcement helped him get a better grasp on challenges facing the department and the county.

He would change to command structure and work to highlight after-school programs to combat heroin use.

Kane County clerk

Jack Cunningham of Aurora is seeking the Republican nomination and his fourth 4-year term as clerk. First elected in 2002, Cunningham has touted his office's transition to electronic voting and successful early voting program.

Mark Davoust, a St. Charles Republican and Kane County Board member since 2004, also is seeking the nomination. Davoust says the clerk's post is an extension of his passion for public service and he would make increasing voter turnout a top priority for the office.

McHenry County clerk

Two McHenry County Board members are running for county clerk in the Republican primary.

Nick Provenzano, who's been on the board since 2002, is the senior district representative for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren and has private-sector experience in economic development.

Mary McClellan of Holiday Hills has been on the board since 2012. She works as an attorney for the Cook County state's attorney's office in civil rights, labor and employment cases and has experience running a small business.

Both say the office needs to be modernized. Provenzano pointed to slow results on Election Night and making absentee voting easier. McClellan also said the website needs to be modernized and wants to focus on updated vital records management.

McHenry County Board

• Andrew Gasser of Fox River Grove, incumbent Robert Nowak of Lake in the Hills, and David Stieper of Barrington Hills are vying for two spots in the Republican primary for McHenry County Board's District 1.

Gasser, a retired Air Force officer, favors reducing the size of county government by automation, consolidating services and using technology to cut costs.

Stieper, who has spent 10 years on the Barrington Hills village plan commission and zoning board, supports eliminating the county board's salary and benefits, and voluntary term limits of eight years.

Nowak, a homebuilder who was elected to the county board in 2009, supports fairness in property tax appraisals by reducing the state multiplier, or equalization factor, a tool used to bring all property to a uniform level of assessment.

• Four candidates seek two seats in District 3.

Incumbent Joseph Gottemoller is facing challengers Sarah Jansen, Nancy Gonsiorek and Donald Kopsell. Two winners will run against Democratic challenger and former county board member Kathleen Bergan Schmidt in the Nov. 4 general election.

Gottemoller, a real estate and zoning attorney, was elected to the board in 2012. He has served as chairman of the county board's planning and development committee, which has overseen review of the proposed Unified Development ordinance.

Jansen, an attorney, formerly was an assistant state's attorney serving as the county board's legal counsel.

Gonsiorek is serving her second term as a Crystal Lake School District 47 school board member and is a certified public accountant. She also served as a Nunda Township plan commissioner.

Kopsell, a Vietnam War veteran, lost his 2013 re-election bid as Nunda Township highway commissioner. He served in that post 16 years.

• In District 5, John Jung Jr., the board's current vice chairman and a small-business owner, squares off against Zane Seipler, a former McHenry County sheriff's deputy who previously ran against Nygren in 2010, and political newcomer Michael Rein, a chiropractor.

The two winners will face incumbent Democrat Paula Yensen in November.

Jung, a board member for 18 years, says he's running to continue the financial progress he said he helped make and look at other ways to adjust costs in the county.

Seipler, a Columbia College student, said his main goal is to end the political cronyism and nepotism he insists runs rampant in the county.

Earlier this year, Seipler was ordered by a judge to pay $240,500 of Nygren's legal bills for lying under oath in his lawsuit against Nygren. In the lawsuit, Seipler claimed Nygren fired him in 2013 for reporting racial profiling and other civil rights violations in the department.

Rein said he's mostly running to lower taxes. He also wants to see whether expenses related to employee health care plans can be cut.

• District 6 features incumbents Michele Aavang of Greenwood and Ersel Schuster of Woodstock along with Larry W. Smith of Harvard, a political newcomer.

Schuster, a board member since 1986, hopes to increase transparency by changing the board rules so the county chairman no longer has the authority to appoint committee members and chairs.

Aavang, a farmer finishing her first 2-year term on the board, wants to encourage economic growth while protecting the county's natural resources.

Smith, a real estate broker vows to be fiscally responsible, attend all board and related meetings, be available for committee work and be responsive to the public's concerns.

65th House

Genevans Dan Ugaste and Steve Andersson and Elgin resident Debbie Miller are seeking the Republican nomination for the state 65th House District. Incumbent Tim Schmitz is not running. Nobody filed for the Democratic nomination.

Ugaste and Andersson are lawyers, while Miller owns a life-counseling business.

All agree the temporary state income tax increase should not be extended. To address the money that would be lost, Miller said the best thing to do would be to encourage more businesses to open or stay in Illinois, by reducing fees and regulations. Ugaste cited Medicaid fraud as one place to examine, suggested changing the school funding formula so less money is sent to Chicago schools, and said that recipients of public benefits should be subject to suspicion-based drug testing. Andersson wants a forensic audit of state finances, as well as having experts review how well money is being spent. While spending cuts would be needed, he would set education as the top priority for receiving funding.

The district includes all or parts of Geneva, St. Charles, Campton Hills, Plato Center, South Elgin, Elgin, Pingree Grove, Hampshire and Huntley.

16th Circuit judges

James C. Hallock, a Kane County associate judge since 1992, is seeking the GOP nod to run for the 6-year circuit judge seat that was vacated when Judge Timothy Sheldon retired in late 2012. Hallock has emphasized his experience in overseeing criminal and civil cases.

Aurora attorney David Howard also is running for the judge's seat. An attorney since 1990, he was a part-time prosecutor for the city of Aurora and also handles bankruptcy cases.

A second judge's seat also is up for election, this one being vacated by Circuit Judge Karen Simpson in October.

Geneva defense attorney D.J. Tegeler, who also is president of the Mill Creek Water Reclamation District, is running for the Republican nomination.

Marmarie Kostelny of Elgin, who has been an associate judge since 2006 and currently oversees the Kane County drug court, also is running.

Associate judges are appointed, while circuit judges are elected.

• Daily Herald staff writers Lenore Adkins, Harry Hitzeman, Madhu Krishnamurthy and Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.

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