Franks on way out as McHenry chairman?
In the race for elected chairman of the McHenry County Board, incumbent Democrat Jack Franks of Marengo was running far behind Republican newcomer Mike Buehler of Crystal Lake with more than half the votes counted.
Buehler was getting 62% of the vote as of 10:15 p.m. with a 26,000-vote lead.
Franks is the first elected chairman of the county board, but the largely Republican body has taken steps to limit his power and influence.
While board members have said efforts to limit and define Franks' powers were bound to occur with the new structure, Franks attributed the struggles to retaliatory partisan politics. Buehler said he could build consensus and rid the county of "cutthroat politics."
According to the county clerk's office, just over 161,000 voters cast ballots and as many as 18,000 mail-in ballots could still be returned.
As of 10:15 p.m., 110,000 ballots had been counted.
In a night of many too-close-to-call races in Kane County, the contest for county board chairman might have been the closest of all.
With all precincts reporting, Democrat Corinne Pierog had a razor-thin 1,575-vote lead over Republican David Rickert.
If Pierog's lead withstands the 10,917 outstanding mail-in ballots, it would mark the first time in modern history a Democrat led the county.
County residents are assured of their first new county board chairman in eight years.
Incumbent Chris Lauzen opted not to run and endorsed Rickert, who currently is the county treasurer. Pierog and Rickert clashed on economic and tax policies. Pierog criticized Rickert's role on a committee overseeing federal COVID-19 relief money for a lack of progress in getting funds to people and businesses that need it.
Pierog said it will likely be several days before the outcome of the race is known.
"I do feel really happy that I have a lead so far tonight," Pierog said. "I'm looking forward to winning the race and bringing thoughtful, responsive and accountable governance to Kane County."
Rickert did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.