Plenty of hot DuPage County primary races

  • One of the hottest Republican primary races in DuPage County is in the 81st State House District, where Keith Matune, left, is challenging incumbent Ron Sandack.

    One of the hottest Republican primary races in DuPage County is in the 81st State House District, where Keith Matune, left, is challenging incumbent Ron Sandack.

Posted3/16/2014 8:00 AM

Voters in Tuesday's DuPage County primary will pick their party's nominees for numerous county, state and congressional seats to advance to the November general election.

Here's a look at some of the hottest races DuPage voters will be deciding.


81st State House

In one of the state's most hotly contested primary races, both Republican candidates have exchanged bitter accusations as they seek the GOP nomination.

Incumbent Ron Sandack and challenger Keith Matune, both of Downers Grove, have sparred over Matune's arrest record as a college student and Sandack's voting record in Springfield.

Sandack says Matune's failure to admit on a Daily Herald questionnaire to being arrested more than once in college calls into question Matune's honesty and qualification to hold state office.

Matune says Sandack's votes in favor of gay marriage and cuts to public employee pensions show the officeholder often sides with "Chicago Democrats."

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Sandack, an attorney, says he would focus on ending legislator pensions, creating 10-year term limits and implementing a computer-based fair remapping process if elected.

Matune, a teacher in Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and school board member in Downers Grove District 99, says he would stick to his beliefs as a "clear conservative," fight to protect middle class families from tax increases and work to bring the state back to a good financial footing.

No Democrat has filed for the seat. The 81st District includes all or parts of Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge.

8th Congressional

GOP rivals Manju Goel and Larry Kaifesh started their campaigns seeing eye-to-eye on most every major issue. Distinctions between the two candidates boiled down to their professional backgrounds -- Kaifesh a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and Goel a health care efficiency consultant.

But these personal differences quickly escalated into much more.

Goel, of Aurora, lives outside the 8th District, as she's legally entitled to. But she began to criticize Kaifesh as a carpetbagger for quickly moving back to his native Carpentersville last fall after years of overseas deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, and a most recent address in Virginia while working at the Pentagon.


And when deceptive websites and social media accounts were created by an Indian-American SuperPAC founded two years ago by Goel's chief supporter -- Carol Stream businessman Shalli Kumar -- the gloves really came off.

Goal and Kumar denied any ongoing contact with or influence over the SuperPAC Indian Americans For Freedom, but with many calling on Goel to denounce the websites, she called a news conference where she characterized the sites as containing "accurate information." Later in the week, Goel finally released a letter asking for the websites to be taken down.

The winner will challenge Democratic incumbent Tammy Duckworth in the fall.

11th Congressional

Four Republicans want the opportunity to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster in the general election.

The candidates are Chris Balkema of Channahon, Ian Bayne of Aurora, Bert Miller of Hinsdale and state Rep. Darlene Senger, a Naperville resident who decided not to seek re-election at the state level to make a bid for the 11th Congressional District seat.

One of the biggest issues separating the hopefuls during the campaign was the Affordable Care Act. If elected, Miller and Senger said they would seek to fix Obamacare; Bayne and Balkema insist the law must be repealed.

The district includes Naperville, Aurora, Woodridge, Lisle, Darien, Bolingbrook, North Aurora, Plainfield and Joliet.

24th State Senate

Republican state Rep. Dennis Reboletti is trying to move up the political ladder by seeking the seat that will be vacated by state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who is running for governor.

Also vying for the 24th Senate District seat is former state Rep. Chris Nybo, who was Dillard's opponent for Senate in the 2012 primary.

During the campaign, Nybo of Elmhurst said downtown Chicago should get a casino, but only if an existing gambling facility in Aurora, Elgin or Joliet moves to the city.

Reboletti, who lives in Elmhurst, said he favors a Chicago casino. However, he wouldn't support removing an existing casino from a town to place it in Chicago.

The winner will face Democrat Suzanne Glowiak of Western Springs. The 24th District includes all or parts of Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont, Wheaton and Willowbrook.

42nd State House

Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives is seeking to keep her 42nd House District seat for a second term. But first, the Wheaton resident will have to defeat GOP challenger Adam Johnson of Warrenville.

Johnson, a Harvard graduate and employee of the DuPage County clerk's office, says he focused his campaign on what he believes is a lack of visible results from Ives, including the fact that none of her bills have become law.

Ives, a West Point graduate and former Wheaton City Council member, countered by saying she doesn't file "fluff legislation" like other freshman representatives. She co-sponsored a failed bill that guaranteed workers with pensions the money they were promised. But moving forward, the proposal would have put everyone in a 401(k) plan.

No Democrat has filed for the seat. The 42nd District includes all or parts of Carol Stream, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville, West Chicago, Wheaton and Winfield.

48th State House

Peter Breen of Lombard is attempting to defeat incumbent Sandra Pihos of Glen Ellyn in the race to determine the Republican nominee in the 48th House District.

One hot topic during the campaign has been the candidates' disagreement over pension reform.

Pihos, a former teacher, is standing by her decision to vote against a bill in December that would have made cuts to public pensions, arguing there wasn't enough time to vet it. Breen, a Lombard village trustee and attorney, says he would have voted for the proposal because it was a good first step.

No Democrat has filed for the seat. The 48th District covers all or parts of Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park and Wheaton.

Forest president

For the first time in two decades, an incumbent DuPage County Forest Preserve District president isn't seeking re-election.

That created the opportunity for Republican forest preserve commissioners Mary Lou Wehrli of Naperville and Joe Cantore of Oak Brook to seek the board presidency.

Cantore says he wants to find ways to encourage more residents to use DuPage's forest preserves. Wehrli said she wants the district to operate in ways that are more transparent for residents.

DuPage Democratic Party officials have until June 2 to choose a candidate and gather enough signatures to get that person on the November ballot.

• Daily Herald staff writers Jessica Cilella and Eric Peterson contributed to this report.

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