Here's how DuPage, Will primaries are shaping up

At a time when most of us are trying to avoid lines at airports, grocery stores and Best Buy, many political candidates in DuPage and Will counties actually embraced the idea of showing up early Monday morning and waiting patiently to submit their nominating petitions for a spot on the March 15 primary ballot.

Voters in the spring will choose their party's nominees for numerous state and county posts, with the primary winners advancing to the general election next November. Here's a look at those who got a jump on the election filing period, which ends next Monday.

DuPage County

The first person in line at the DuPage Election Commission was county Recorder Fred Bucholz, who showed up around 5:15 a.m. and was soon joined by Auditor Bob Grogan, State's Attorney Robert Berlin, Clerk of the Circuit Court Chris Kachiroubas and Coroner Richard Jorgensen.

"We all had a plan to meet here early," Bucholz said. "We didn't think about who was going to get here first. We just knew to get here at 5:30 a.m. and have coffee and doughnuts."

Bucholz, seeking his fourth term as recorder, said the countywide incumbents and their supporters spent three months gathering the signatures needed to get on the ballot. By Monday, Bucholz was eager to submit the stack of paperwork.

"We've all had this under guard in our houses for days now," Bucholz said. "We've probably all checked it three, four times even though we know it's in order. So we're all ready to hand this to the election commission."

While the filing period doesn't end until Nov. 30, it's already clear there will be contested Republican primary races in two of the six county board districts.

Twelve of the 18 county board members are up for election next year. Six of the available seats are for 4-year terms. The rest are for 2-year terms. Here's a quick look:

• In District 1, Republican incumbents Donald Puchalski and Sam Tornatore are seeking new terms. Puchalski is running for a 4-year seat while Tornatore is vying for a 2-year seat in the district that includes all or portions of Addison, Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Elmhurst, Glendale Heights, Itasca, Lombard, Roselle, Villa Park and Wood Dale. On the Democratic side, Roland "Rolly" Waller of Bensenville is seeking the 4-year seat.

• Republican incumbent Sean Noonan is seeking another 4-year term in District 2. Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Chaplin is planning to file her paperwork this week to compete for a 2-year term.

So far, two Republicans - Richard Blass of Elmhurst and Elaine Zannis of Oak Brook - are expected to square off in the GOP primary for the chance to face Chaplin in the general election.

Blass, who retired in 2012 as the deputy police chief of Bellwood, is an attorney.

"I think we need a little bit more work on our law enforcement," Blass said. "I'm for what Sheriff (John) Zaruba is trying to do. I think the heroin epidemic has gotten out of control."

Zannis, a former Oak Brook trustee, is making a second attempt at a District 2 county board seat. In 2012, she lost during the general election.

"I want to take it (Chaplin's seat) for the Republican Party," said Zannis, adding that issues motivating her include lowering property taxes, addressing the heroin problem and providing services for seniors.

District 2 includes all or portions of Addison, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont and Woodridge.

• District 3 incumbent Brian Krajewski officially launched his bid for re-election on Monday. Krajewski is seeking a 4-year term, while fellow Republican incumbent Gary Grasso is expected to enter the race for a 2-year seat in the district that includes all or portions of Bolingbrook, Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Lemont, Naperville, Westmont, Willowbrook and Woodridge.

• Two Republican candidates already have emerged in the race to fill one of the District 4 seats on the county board.

Timothy Elliott, a Glen Ellyn trustee who also is the attorney for College of DuPage, and attorney Michelle Moore both say they're going to run for the 4-year seat in the district that includes all or parts of Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Lisle, Lombard, Wheaton and Winfield.

Elliott and Moore are seeking election to the county board seat held by fellow Republican Karyn Romano of Glen Ellyn. Romano decided not to run for the position that she was appointed to.

The other District 4 seat up for election is held by incumbent Amy Grant. She entered the race Monday seeking a 2-year term.

• In District 5, incumbent Republican board member James Healy is seeking a 4-year term. Tony Michelassi of Aurora - one of two incumbent Democrats on the board - is expected to file his petition this week so he can seek a 2-year term.

Michelassi already is guaranteed a Republican opponent in the next fall's general election.

Janice Marie Anderson, a Naperville Township trustee, filed her paperwork first thing Monday morning. The Naperville resident says she's running because she wants to bring "a new attitude" to the position.

"I don't feel Tony's engaged in the process," said Anderson, who works as an executive assistant. "I'm very active in Naperville and Lisle townships and the community."

Michelassi reacted by saying he's been "far more engaged" since winning a second term in 2012.

"This is something that I take very, very seriously," he said. "That's why the people elected me in the first place."

District 5 includes parts of Aurora, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville and Woodridge.

• Republican incumbents Jim Zay and Robert Larsen are hoping to continue representing District 6. Zay is seeking a 2-year term, while Larsen is vying for a 4-year term in the district that includes all or parts of Aurora, Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Naperville, Roselle, St. Charles, Warrenville, Wayne, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

Forest preserve

There will be at least two contested races in the Republican primary for the DuPage County Forest Preserve Commission.

Challenger Carl Schultz of Aurora and incumbent Mary Lou Wehrli of Naperville are poised for a rematch of the 2012 GOP primary in District 5 that saw Wehrli unseat Schultz, then a 10-year veteran of the district.

District 5 includes all or parts of Aurora, Lisle, Naperville and Warrenville.

Schultz said he wants the seat back because he's unhappy with the way Wehrli has represented the district.

"This race is about my interest in being on the forest preserve commission and giving a voice again to the people of District 5," he said. "I think if you look at the accomplishments of my term versus the accomplishments of my opponent's term, there's not a lot that has been done in District 5 the last few years. I can't think of anything of significance."

Wehrli, however, said this has been the most exciting time for the forest preserve district in recent memory. She's proud of that, she said, and wants to see it through.

"We are on the brink of major cultural change and staff changes with a new executive director," she said.

So far during her first term, Wehrli says her accomplishments in District 5 include a safe trail link between Jefferson and Ogden avenues, an improved dog area at Springbrook Prairie Forest Preserve, and land acquisitions expanding existing preserves.

She said she also voted to support online registration, an asset management plan, a merit-based salary program and the district's strategic plan.

Other positions up for election on the commission are the District 2 and District 4 seats.

Jeff Redick of Elmhurst, who represents District 2, filed on Monday.

District 4 is represented by Tim Whelan of Wheaton. So far, he's slated to face Brian Wolter of Carol Stream in the GOP primary.

State legislature

It's still early, but there aren't any contested primary races shaping up for legislative seats from DuPage County. Here's who filed Monday and could wind up facing off in November:

• State Rep. Deb Conroy, a Villa Park Democrat, could have a rematch against Republican Heidi Holan of Glen Ellyn for the Illinois House.

• Seth Lewis, a Bartlett Republican, has filed to challenge state Sen. Tom Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat facing his first re-election bid.

• Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora has drawn Naperville Republican Mike Strick as a challenger.

• Democratic Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison has one challenger in Republican Anthony Airdo of Melrose Park.

• Democrat Greg Hose of Downers Grove has signed up to run for Illinois House against Republican Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove.

• Republicans Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove, Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights and Rep. Mike Fortner of West Chicago didn't file paperwork Monday, but all say they plan to do so by the Nov. 30 deadline.

Will County

There will be at least one Democratic primary among the six countywide seats that are up for election next year.

Two Democrats filed petitions to run for the circuit clerk position held by Democrat Pamela J. McGuire, although neither is McGuire herself.

The candidates are Andrea Lynn Chasteen of Frankfort and Robert "Bob" Enright of New Lenox.

Only the incumbents filed Monday for four positions: Karen A. Stukel of Channahon for recorder of deeds, James W. Glasgow of Plainfield for state's attorney, Patrick K. O'Neil of Lockport for coroner and Lawrence M. "Larry" Walsh of Elwood for chief executive officer. All are Democrats.

No one filed Monday to run for county auditor, a seat held by Democrat Duffy Blackburn of Joliet.

Election filing starts today in Illinois

  Auditor Bob Grogan, Clerk of Circuit Court Chris Kachiroubas, State's Attorney Robert Berlin, Coroner Richard Jorgensen and County Recorder Fred Bucholz wait in line with their petitions Monday at the DuPage County administration building in Wheaton. Bev Horne/
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