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updated: 3/18/2014 11:25 PM

Wheeler gets the GOP nod for 50th state House run

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  • Keith Wheeler Republican candidate for 50th District Representative

    Keith Wheeler Republican candidate for 50th District Representative


Keith Wheeler cited two reasons for his victory Tuesday for the Republican nomination for the 50th state House seat.

The first was that his message that state needs to be more fiscally responsible "resonated with voters everywhere we went," he said.

And he got that message out to "a ton of people we don't know well," he said, pointing to a fundraiser with former Chicago Bears player Dan Hampton in Elburn and to a meeting at a gun gallery.

The unofficial count showed Wheeler with 5,801 votes; Julie Cosimo of Oswego, 1,986; Beth Goncher of Aurora, 1,799; and Bill Keck of Sugar Grove, 1,399.

Wheeler will face Democrat Valerie Burd of Yorkville in November. Burd ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. She is the former mayor of Yorkville.

Wheeler ran as a fiscal and social conservative. He touted his experience as the owner of a computer consulting business as he called for changes in workers' compensation laws, the end of the temporary state income tax increase, and a focus on loosening regulations to attract new businesses to the state and keep those already here.

Improving employment would help people need fewer social services, he said, adding that that would help the state reduce its spending.

This is his second attempt at winning a Republican primary for this seat. He lost in a three-way race in 2010 to the incumbent, Kay Hatcher.

Goncher works as legislative and constituent services director for 65th state House Rep. Tim Schmitz.

Keck was the Kane County auditor for 20 years, stepping away in 2012. He said he would use state auditor general reports as guidelines when voting on how to spend state money, including evaluations of the efficiencies of programs and departments.

Cosimo is director of career development at Benedictine University. She, too, said the state should be focused on what it is doing to attract and keep businesses, and spoke of improving education so the state could offer an attractive workforce.

Hatcher did not run again. She is in her third term.

The 50th House includes all or parts of Campton Hills, Elburn, Sugar Grove, Montgomery, Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Bristol, Oswego, Yorkville and North Aurora.

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