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updated: 3/20/2014 2:39 PM

Matune won't challenge vote in 'tough' 81st House race

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  • State Rep. Ron Sandack, left, is advancing to the Nov. 4 general election seeking to retain his 81st House seat after winning a narrow victory over challenger Keith Matune in Tuesday's primary election.

       State Rep. Ron Sandack, left, is advancing to the Nov. 4 general election seeking to retain his 81st House seat after winning a narrow victory over challenger Keith Matune in Tuesday's primary election.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Both Republican candidates for the 81st state House seat in the Downers Grove and Naperville area say the race they waged for their party's nomination was "tough."

But they also say it's over.

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After Tuesday's primary election concluded with incumbent Rep. Ron Sandack defeating challenger Keith Matune by 153 votes -- 6,753 to 6,600, according to unofficial results -- Sandack said he expected those results to be challenged.

But Matune has conceded the race and said he will not seek a recount in any of the district's precincts in DuPage and Will counties.

"This has been a particularly tough and public race," Matune, a 44-year-old teacher, said in a statement. "But this current race has come to an end and I want to congratulate Rep. Sandack and his supporters for their dedication."

Matune's concession ends one race among a handful of hotly contested Republican primaries in the state, a campaign in which the candidates traded barbs over Sandack's votes for gay marriage and cuts to public pensions and whether Matune has been honest about his arrest record as a college student.

Matune said Sandack's votes prove he is more of a "Chicago Democrat" than a DuPage County Republican, and Sandack, a 50-year-old attorney, said Matune failed to admit on a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire to being arrested more than once in college.

Multiple campaign mailers bombarded 81st District residents in Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge with images of Sandack's face popping out of a jack-in-the-box or Matune's photo superimposed over a height chart as if he was in a jail mug shot.

"Both sides were passionate about supporting their candidate and that's a good thing, because we need people to become re-engaged with their government and the democratic process," Matune said.

In conceding the race, Matune said he encourages voters to support Sandack to ensure the Republican Party retains the seat after the Nov. 4 general election.

Sandack said he expects a Democratic candidate to come forward before the June 2 deadline for the party to nominate an opponent.

With the primary behind him, Sandack said he will continue focusing on reforms such as ending legislator pensions and preventing property taxes from rising if property values decrease.

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