Candidate filing sets up potential for spirited local races in Lake County
Depending where you live in Lake County, the first day of candidate filing for various local offices Monday was either relatively quiet or promises fireworks this spring.
Township, municipal, park, library, school and fire district officials will be elected in the consolidated election April 6. Candidates can file for a spot on the ballot through the end of business on Monday, Dec. 21.
In some instances, the election is expected to represent a quiet changing of the guard as longtime incumbents step aside. In others, like Round Lake Park and Avon Township, slates have lined up against each other.
Some school board races are crowded as candidates who favor having students in school square off against incumbents who have supported remote learning.
"There's a lot of frustration (among) the parents right now," said Sean Gay, a candidate for the Libertyville-Vernon Hills High School District 128 board. "The parents by and large have been surveyed time and time again and they want in-person learning." Gay was first in line at 6 a.m. Monday at the Lake County Clerk's office.
Ten candidates filed Monday in District 128, the most of any district listed on the Lake County clerk's website. Eight candidates filed in Lake Forest High School District 115, and seven each in Stevenson High School District 125 and Deerfield District 109.
On the municipal ballot, filings as of Monday afternoon set up contested mayoral races in Lake Zurich, Round Lake Park and Antioch, where there will be a three-way race for the village's top elected position.
Incumbent mayors Terry Weppler of Libertyville, Kristina Kovarik of Gurnee and Lincoln Knight of Wauconda are not running for reelection. Knight instead is running to oust longtime Wauconda Township Supervisor Glenn Swanson.
In Wauconda, village Trustee Jeff A. Sode is running for mayor, and incumbent trustees Tim Howe and Adam Schlick are seeking reelection, with Jennifer Kuhn also running.
A new mayor also will be elected in Round Lake Beach, where Rich Hill resigned in September after 19 years in the post.
Scott Nickles, who was appointed acting mayor after Hill stepped down, is seeking election to the post. Incumbent trustees Sylvia Valadez, Chuck Husk and Christie Davis have filed for 4-year terms on the village board, and Martha Ibarra will seek a 2-year term.
Lake Zurich could see one of Lake County's more spirited mayoral races, as Tom Poynton seeks a third term as the village's top elected leader. He's being challenged by Jeff Halen, who served two terms as a trustee before two unsuccessful village board bids in 2017 and 2019.
Village Trustee Janice Gannon, who ran on a slate with Halen in 2019, said Monday she will support him.
Poynton filed to run as a part of a five-member slate called "Lake Zurich Forward Slate." The group includes incumbent Trustees Mary Beth Euker and Greg Weider, incumbent Village Clerk Kathleen Johnson, and newcomer Daniel Bobrowski.
Kovarik, who is not seeking a fifth term as Gurnee village president, is endorsing village Trustee Tom Hood to succeed her.
Incumbent Trustees Jeanne Balmes and Karen Thorstenson also filed for reelection Monday. They were joined by newcomer and former police Chief Kevin Woodside, who retired as Gurnee's top cop in 2018 after 30 years on the force.
In Libertyville, longtime Trustee Donna Johnson filed for village president while newcomers Dan Love, Matthew Hickey and Matthew Krummick filed for three trustee spots. Three incumbent trustees are not seeking reelection.
In Vernon Hills, longtime Mayor Roger Byrne is expected to seek reelection but had not filed as of Monday afternoon. His post, three 4-year trustee terms and one 2-year trustee position are at stake in the April 6 election.
In Barrington, a slate of incumbent candidates led by Village President Karen Darch, who is seeking a fifth term, filed to run under the "Barrington Forward" banner. Darch was joined by Clerk Tony Ciganek and Trustees Jennifer Wondrasek, Todd Sholeen and Mike Moran.
And in Buffalo Grove, incumbent trustees Andrew Stein, Lester Ottenheimer III and Joanne Johnson filed for reelection. Three seats will be on the ballot.
Former Buffalo Grove Trustee Michael Terson filed petitions for the board, too. He unsuccessfully ran for village president last year, losing to Beverly Sussman.
• Daily Herald staff writers Doug Graham, Steve Zalusky and Trey Arline contributed to this story