Nick Provenzano, who lost the GOP nod for McHenry County clerk, can't put his finger on why his name recognition and longevity in county politics weren't enough to overcome what he called his opponent's negative campaigning.
Provenzano, a county board member since 2002, lost the Republican nomination this week to Mary McClellan, 49, of Holiday Hills.
She works as an attorney for the Cook County state's attorney's office in civil rights, labor and employment cases. She has also run a small business and was elected to the county board in 2012.
"I think my credentials speak for themselves," McClellan said.
Provenzano, 52, of McHenry, set his sights on running for the clerk's office years ago.
But McClellan made her intention to run known in September, soon after longtime clerk Kathy Schultz announced her retirement.
During the campaign, both candidates spoke of a need to modernize the clerk's office.
According to unofficial results, McClellan collected 15,721 votes and Provenzano 12,099.
"What made a difference was that I like to go out, and I walk and I meet all the people," McClellan said. "I was able to win the county board race the same way."
Provenzano says McClellan won due to her "negative campaign." On one flier, for example, she accused him of being a "double dipper" for working part-time both as a county board member and for the 14th Congressional District, he said.
In addition to serving on the county board, Provenzano is the senior district representative for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. He also has private sector experience in economic development.
"My opponent chose to concentrate on the negative aspects and just ran a very, very negative campaign and, unfortunately, in McHenry County, that seemed to appeal to people," Provenzano said. "We're very, very proud of the race that we ran and I look forward to working on the county board to continue to be a fiscal conservative and a watchdog for the taxpayers in McHenry County."
McClellan did not return messages seeking further comment.
Provenzano's term on the country board expires in two years.