Some races to watch Tuesday in Lake County

Races at the top of the ballot have gotten most of the attention in the primary campaign, but Lake County voters also will have decisions to make about county races and a few local ballot issues.

Tuesday's election will feature candidates running in: the 6th, 10th and 14th Congressional districts; Illinois governor/lieutenant governor; and attorney general. Closer to home, they'll decide primary battles for the 59th and 62nd state representative seats, Lake County clerk and six county board seats.

Voters in four jurisdictions also will have referendum questions to consider. Here are some ballot highlights.

State House D59

With incumbent Carol Sente not seeking reelection the traditionally Democratic 59th District, which includes large sections of Buffalo Grove, Mundelein, Wheeling and Vernon Hills in central Lake and northern Cook counties, is up for grabs with challenges for the nomination in both parties.

Democrat Dan Didech, a Buffalo Grove resident and municipal attorney who was elected Vernon Township supervisor last year, has Sente's endorsement and heavy party financial support.

He favors a property tax freeze and increased exemptions for seniors, veterans and middle-class homeowners.

His opponent, Lake Forest attorney Susan Malter, left the Cook County state's attorney's office to found a not-for-profit to help children of at-risk families in high-crime Chicago neighborhoods and represented travelers at O'Hare International Airport fighting the Muslin travel ban.

She said school funding should not come from property taxes and supports changing the property tax system.

The Republican race pits Lincolnshire residents Karen Feldman, a veteran village trustee, against Marko Sukovic, a graduating senior at the University of Illinois. Both say they want to make Illinois more business friendly.

The sometimes testy campaign is depicted by the candidates as one of experience versus energy and fresh ideas. Sukovic sued the House Republican Organization over campaign ads linking him to House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Feldman originally was a defendant but Sukovic dismissed her from the case based on a sworn affidavit saying she had nothing to do with the mailers.

Lake Co. Board D17

The Republican primary for the county board's 17th District seat features the incumbent and two challengers.

Michael Danforth, an attorney from Fox River Grove who was appointed to the board last year, is on the ballot for the first time. He's challenged by Wauconda Trustee Linda Starkey and North Barrington resident Eleanor Sweet McDonnell, who owns an executive search firm and has never held elected office.

All are running as fiscal conservatives, saying they want to reduce property taxes. But their approaches are very different.

Danforth said consolidating 911 dispatch services and fire protection districts could save money, while Starkey of Wauconda favors county staff cuts. Sweet McDonnell said the county might be able to save money by not hiring consultants as often.

The county board doubles as the Lake County Forest Preserve District board. The 17th District includes parts or all of Wauconda, Island Lake, Lake Barrington, Port Barrington, North Barrington, Barrington Hills, Tower Lakes, Fox River Grove and Hawthorn Woods.

The winner will face Democrat Maria Peterson of North Barrington in the Nov. 6 general election.

District 95 question

In deciding how to vote on Lake Zurich Unit District 95's $77.6 million bond request, voters will weigh the importance of making upgrades at all eight schools against the amount of potential property tax savings.

If approved, the money will be used to replace the 89-year-old May Whitney Elementary School building, install air conditioning in the five schools and add so-called 21st-century learning facilities to several buildings.

The bond issue would replace the current $65 million bond approved through a referendum in 2000 that is set to expire. If it is approved, the district estimates annual property taxes would decrease around $14 for every $100,000 of a resident's home value.

If voters say "no," there would be a greater savings - around $118 for every $100,000 in property value.

• Staff writers Russell Lissau and Doug Graham contributed to this report.

Michael Danforth, left, Eleanor Sweet McDonnell, Linda Starkey are Republican candidates for Lake County Board District 17.
Daniel Didech, left, and Susan Malter are seeking the Democratic nomination for state House District 59.
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