Nerheim wins Lake County state's attorney race

  • Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and his wife, Andi, await election results at the Gurnee American Legion Hall. Nerheim won his re-election bid Tuesday.

      Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim and his wife, Andi, await election results at the Gurnee American Legion Hall. Nerheim won his re-election bid Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, left, and Lake County Coroner-elect Dr. Howard Cooper celebrate their victories Tuesday during a gathering at the Gurnee American Legion.

      Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, left, and Lake County Coroner-elect Dr. Howard Cooper celebrate their victories Tuesday during a gathering at the Gurnee American Legion. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/9/2016 12:06 AM

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim will be in the office for another four years.

With all precincts reporting, unofficial results show the Republican incumbent leading Democratic challenger Matthew Stanton by 149,122 votes to 134,542 in Tuesday's election.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Nerheim, 43, of Gurnee, said his win showed voters appreciated the hard work to restore trust in the office and addressing a Lake County opioid epidemic.

"I'm really honored they decided to keep me in office," Nerheim said.

Similar to what Nerheim did in 2012, Stanton, 56, of Gurnee, ran a campaign that focused on a platform that called for reforms after the office was rocked by a series of wrongful convictions under the previous administration.

Six high-profile cases have been overturned in Lake County since 2010, including murder cases involving Jason Strong, Jerry Hobbs, Juan Rivera and James Edwards and rape cases against Bennie Starks and Angel Gonzalez.

Stanton, a private attorney and law professor, repeatedly said during the campaign Nerheim hasn't done enough to reform the office, and that a "culture of convictions" remains in place. He said new leadership and a fresh perspective are needed, and he could bring that through staff restructuring, training and new protocols.

Nerheim defended his work during his first term. He said he created the case review panel made up of volunteer judges, lawyers and people outside of Lake County, and an in-house conviction integrity unit made up of senior-level prosecutors and investigators that have identified other problem cases and led to exonerations.

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