Rotheimer makes party switch to run for Lake County Board

  • Denise Rotheimer

    Denise Rotheimer

  • Judy Martini

    Judy Martini

  • Bonnie Thomson Carter

    Bonnie Thomson Carter

Updated 10/14/2015 4:29 PM

An Ingleside activist and occasional political candidate is switching party affiliations in her latest bid for a Lake County Board seat.

Denise Rotheimer said she'll run as a Republican in the March 2016 primary for the 5th District post.


Rotheimer, 43, ran as a Democrat for the county board's 17th District seat in 2008 when she lived in Barrington. She lost to veteran Republican incumbent Stevenson Mountsier, who has since retired from politics.

Last year, Rotheimer briefly ran for the state House District 62 seat as an independent. She was removed from the ballot because of problems with her candidate petitions.

When asked why she ran as a Democrat seven years ago but is waving the GOP banner now, Rotheimer said, "it was more important to me to run for that office (in 2008) than for which specific party."

"I am running this time around because serving the constituents in my district is still what I am most passionate about," she said.

The county board's 5th District seat now is held by veteran county Commissioner Bonnie Thomson Carter, an Ingleside Republican. Carter has said she won't seek re-election in 2016.

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Rotheimer isn't the only GOP candidate for the post. Late last month, former Lake County Board member Judy Martini of Fox Lake announced she wants Carter's job.

A Democratic Party candidate hasn't come forward.

The 5th District includes Fox Lake, Lakemoor, Volo and parts of Round Lake, Wauconda, Antioch and Lake Villa.

Rotheimer gained attention as a victim's rights advocate and critic of the Lake County court system, after the sexual assault of her daughter. She was a particular critic of former Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller.

Rotheimer founded a group called Mothers on a Mission to Stop Violence, and pushed for victim's rights legislation and stronger sex-crime laws.

Martini served on the county board from 1994 to 2008, representing the 1st District. Her tenure included a stint as the board's vice chairman.

She retired from the board to take care of some personal issues.

Martini lived in Antioch when she was on the county board. She moved to Kentucky in 2012 and returned to Lake County last fall.

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