Hot races in Lake County

  • Leslie Munger, left, and Carol Sente are candidates for the 59th state House District seat.

    Leslie Munger, left, and Carol Sente are candidates for the 59th state House District seat.

  • Bob Dold, left, and Brad Schneider are candidates for 10th Congressional District seat.

    Bob Dold, left, and Brad Schneider are candidates for 10th Congressional District seat.

  • Mark Curran, left, and Jason Patt are candidates for Lake County sheriff.

    Mark Curran, left, and Jason Patt are candidates for Lake County sheriff.

  • Rod Drobinski, left, and Sam Yingling are candidates for the 62nd state House District seat.

    Rod Drobinski, left, and Sam Yingling are candidates for the 62nd state House District seat.

Posted11/3/2014 5:30 AM

Many incumbent candidates in federal, state and local governments have faced stiff, and often contentious challenges, during what has been a heated and often nasty midterm election campaign.

State government races, in particular, have been big targets, starting with Republican Bruce Rauner's effort to knock off Gov. Pat Quinn.


How much political upheaval will the Nov. 4 election produce for Lake County? That could depend to some extent on voter turnout. During the last midterm election in 2010, about 51 percent of registered voters went to the polls.

That increased significantly to 71 percent in 2012 with a presidential contest on the ballot.

These are some of the hotter local races to watch:

10th Congressional District

The race for Illinois' 10th District seat in Congress is a rematch of the 2012 election that pitted Democrat Brad Schneider of Deerfield against Republican Robert Dold of Kenilworth.

Two years ago, Dold was the freshman incumbent and Schneider was the challenger. Those roles are reversed this time around, thanks to Schneider's narrow victory in 2012.

The candidates have a lot in common. They've both complained about the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., they both believe the U.S. relationship with Israel is critically important and they both see good and bad things in the Affordable Care Act, among other issues.

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Dold, however, voted four times to repeal that health care reform law when he was in Congress -- and Schneider has pointed that out frequently during the campaign. Schneider also has blasted Dold on the environment, criticizing votes the Republican made and touting his own endorsements from environmental groups.

Dold's been on the offensive, too, saying Schneider hasn't accomplished much during his two years in office. And when pressed on the Affordable Care Act, Dold said most of his votes on the law would have improved the legislation.

Although Dold has claimed to support a woman's right to have an abortion, he has voiced support for certain limitations on the procedure. Schneider's taken a whack at him over that as well.

The district includes parts of Cook and Lake counties.

Lake County Sheriff

The hottest countywide race pits Republican Sheriff Mark Curran against political newcomer Jason Patt, a Democrat from Zion.


Patt, 36, an investigator with the Lake County coroner's office, said new leadership is needed in the office to fend off morale problems. He also wants to cut two high-ranking positions and reallocate those salaries to fund the hiring of more deputies.

He is critical of the way Curran has handled various wrongful death and discrimination lawsuits.

Curran, 51, the two-term incumbent from Libertyville, said Patt does not have the management experience to oversee the office's 600 employees.

He said Patt's idea of cutting two high-ranking sheriff jobs would reduce the number of nonunion employees without first conducting a management study, and it highlights Patt's lack of experience.

Patt is a former petty officer with the Navy. Curran is a former prosecutor at the Lake County state's attorney's office. Curran was elected sheriff in 2006.

62nd state House District

Democrat Sam Yingling of Grayslake was the underdog two years ago when he bounced three-term Republican Sandy Cole without much party support in the 62nd District.

As a known commodity, the former Avon Township supervisor has received considerable party assistance as he seeks a second term against challenger Rod Drobinski, a Lake County gangs prosecutor and Fremont Public Library Board trustee.

Yingling says he is not taking the race lightly. Drobinski, who received late Republican Party support, is preparing for a close race although he is well behind in fundraising.

Though not as contentious as some state races, there has been some sniping between the candidates on issues such as taxes and school funding. Drobinski, an assistant Lake County state's attorney for 12 years, has portrayed Yingling as a yes-man for House Speaker Michael Madigan and the Democratic leadership, a charge the incumbent dismisses.

Drobinski says he would be more independent and is not shy about making the right call even if it draws criticism. Yingling says he will continue to fight for property tax reform.

Both agree the state income tax rate should revert to the original 3 percent. Yingling favors increasing the minimum wage; Drobinski opposes it, saying it would kill jobs. Drobinski says he would work for tax relief, job creation and greater accountability in government. Yingling said he is committed to eliminating unnecessary layers of government.

The district includes all or parts of Grayslake, Hainesville, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake, Long Lake, Third Lake, Waukegan, Lake Villa, Gurnee, Wildwood and Gages Lake.

59th state House District

State party leaders and special interests have poured money into the campaigns of Democratic state Rep. Carol Sente and Republican challenger Leslie Munger, helping to fund robocalls, negative mailers and TV ads.

The race for the 59th House District seat has been a bitter battle between Sente, who paints herself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate, and Munger, a first-time political candidate who says the state should loosen its business regulations and cut spending.

Sente, of Vernon Hills, who was appointed to the seat in 2009 and elected in 2010 and 2012, says she's an independent who voted against the 2011 income tax increase, supports its sunset in 2015 and opposes a so-called millionaire tax and progressive income tax proposal.

Munger, of Lincolnshire, a former marketing executive at Helene Curtis, has tried to tie her opponent to Madigan, arguing Sente is "chained at the hip" with him.

The district takes in portions of Buffalo Grove, Gurnee, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Long Grove, Mundelein, Vernon Hills and Wheeling.

• Daily Herald staff writers Russell Lissau, Lee Filas and Christopher Placek contributed to this report.

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