Lake County legislative races far from over

There were a lot of crossed fingers but even candidates who were feeling comfortable about their positions Tuesday night knew the races were far from over.

Vote by mail and early voting ballots figure to be factors going forward and in some cases could flip races.

Republican incumbents and challengers alike in six contested legislative races in all or part of Lake County got off to a quick start as the first results from in-person voting on Election Day were posted.

But even the early strong showings had an asterisk. And as the night continued without a sense of how the vote by mail and early voting results would play out, few candidates were ready to claim victory or admit defeat.

In House District 51, for example, Republican newcomer Chris Bos, a Lake Zurich minister and Ela Township trustee, led incumbent Democrat Mary Edly-Allen of Libertyville.

According to unofficial results, Bos led 8,018 to 3,525 in Lake County, which accounts for all but one precinct of the district. That total did not include early voting or vote by mail ballots.

"He's in a good place knowing he has an opportunity," said spokesperson Joel Sikes. "Considering where it's sitting right now, we do feel good about it."

The 51st District covers much of central Lake County and a sliver of Cook County.

In far north House District 61, Antioch village trustee Dan Yost, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Joyce Mason of Gurnee, was in a similar situation.

About 10 p.m., Yost said it was too early to know how it would end but was pleased to that point. He led 7,728 votes to Mason's 5,483.

Posted vote tallies did not include mail-in ballots that have yet to arrive. In Lake County, 170,232 ballots were mailed to voters who requested them but 59,118 had not yet been returned. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday will be counted if they arrive by Nov. 17.

Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor noted not all vote by mail ballots will be processed because some voters opted to vote in person instead and surrendered their mail ballots.

Mason is well aware of the potential impact of early and mail-in ballots. Two years ago, she upended Republican incumbent Sheri Jesiel by 1,226 votes on the strength of those ballots, which were added to the totals after the in-person votes were counted on Election Day.

In Senate District 31, Republican challenger Christopher Kasperski had 13,282 votes to lead incumbent Democrat Melinda Bush, who had 10,705 votes; in House District 62, Republican Jim Walsh had 5,966 votes to Democrat incumbent Sam Yingling's 4,804; in House District 64, which covers parts of Lake and McHenry counties, Republican incumbent Tom Weber had 24,314 votes to Democrat Leslie Armstrong-McLeon's 13,845.

In House District 52, which covers portions of Lake, Cook, Kane and McHenry counties, there was no incumbent as Republican David McSweeney chose not to seek a fifth term. Unofficial results showed Republican Martin McLaughlin, Barrington Hills village president, was leading with 25,818 votes, followed by Democrat Marci Suelzer, an Island Lake resident with 20,089 votes and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz of South Barrington with 833 votes.

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