Former lieutenant governor to seek DuPage County clerk's seat

  • Former Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti

    Former Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti Daily Herald file photo

  • DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek looks over a new mail-in ballot machine.

    DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek looks over a new mail-in ballot machine. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, August 2020

 
 
Updated 1/14/2022 6:19 PM

Former Lieutenant Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti announced Friday she's running to lead the DuPage County clerk's office.

Sanguinetti will seek the GOP nomination in the primary election June 28. She previously served on the Wheaton City Council before one-term Gov. Bruce Rauner picked her as his running mate. Sanguinetti was the nation's first Latina lieutenant governor.

 

The clerk's office is responsible for overseeing elections, sending out property tax bills and handling birth certificates, marriage licenses and other documents.

In launching her campaign, Sanguinetti wasted no time in criticizing incumbent Jean Kaczmarek, a Glen Ellyn Democrat. Sanguinetti said her background as an attorney gives her the credentials to take over the job.

"Jean Kaczmarek has been MIA from her duties and refuses to answer questions about the functioning of her office," Sanguinetti said in a statement. "Instead, she has hid behind political appointees and staff to field the tough questions and perform tasks that DuPage County's taxpayers generously pay her a substantial salary for."

Sanguinetti could not be reached to explain her assertions or provide any details.

Kaczmarek did not return phone and text messages seeking comment. She flipped the seat as part of a Democratic wave that propelled other women candidates to county positions in 2018. Kaczmarek defeated Republican incumbent Paul Hinds to win her first elected office. Kaczmarek ran a campaign as a self-described election watchdog.

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Sanguinetti said she's lined up endorsements from GOP leaders, including County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, DuPage State's Attorney Bob Berlin, Coroner Rich Jorgensen and Jim Zay, the county board's longest-serving member. Sanguinetti said she also has the support of state Reps. Deanne Mazzochi, Amy Grant and Seth Lewis.

Sanguinetti has sought to connect with voters by sharing her personal story. She grew up as the daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant father and a refugee mother who fled Cuba during Fidel Castro's regime.

In 2019, Sanguinetti sought the GOP nod for the chance to take on U.S. Rep. Sean Casten in the 6th Congressional District, but later dropped out of the Republican primary race.

She was the executive director of the Wheaton-based HOPE Fair Housing Center, a nonprofit that fights housing discrimination, from 2020 until this year. Sanguinetti, her husband Raymond and their three children live in Wheaton.

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