Two McHenry County electoral board members remove themselves from sheriff's race challenge

Two of the three McHenry County electoral board members tasked with deciding whether a McHenry County sheriff candidate can stay on the ballot will voluntarily recuse themselves from the matter, they said Friday.

Next, the chief judge in McHenry County will appoint their replacements. Even then, the electoral board won't immediately take up the question of whether McHenry County sheriff candidate Tony Colatorti meets the statutory requirements to run for the office and can stay on the ballot.

Colatorti is running against current McHenry County Undersheriff Robb Tadelman in the Republican primary election in June. The winner will go on to appear on the November ballot. No Democrat has filed to run for the office.

Instead, the electoral board set a hearing for Tuesday afternoon, during which arguments will take place and perhaps a decision will be made on whether the third member - McHenry County State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally's designee, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Lisle Stalter - can remain on the board.

Daniel Bolin, the attorney representing objectors William Brogan and Joel Brumlik, had requested that Stalter along with the designee for the McHenry County Clerk's Office be replaced, pointing to campaign donations involving Colatorti.

Bolin said that although he didn't have any problems with Stalter herself, Kenneally shouldn't be allowed to pick his designee.

Kenneally publicly endorsed Colatorti's candidacy and received $500 in campaign contributions from Colatorti in August 2016.

McHenry County Clerk Joseph Tirio voluntarily recused himself Friday. He told the Northwest Herald on Thursday that his main priority is doing what needs to be done in order to have the objection completed before the April 21 deadline for ballot certification.

Tirio said in an interview that he didn't feel like he had any level of unique expertise or experience on sheriff qualifications that would cause him to take issue with being recused.

The other electoral board member to voluntarily recuse herself - the McHenry County Circuit Clerk's Office manager, Debra Schmitt - was challenged by the attorneys representing Colatorti's campaign.

They requested her removal because they said in an email that she is a Tadelman supporter with a campaign sign in their yard and because Circuit Clerk Katherine Keefe publicly endorsed Tadelman.

Stalter said that after reviewing the statutes and existing case law, she disagreed with Bolin's argument that Kenneally would have been automatically disqualified and therefore unable to appoint a designee.

Kenneally reached out to the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, asking that it send Stalter or another assistant state's attorney to serve on the electoral board, Stalter told the Northwest Herald. She said she previously has served on a McHenry County electoral board.

"I'm not running for office," Stalter said at Friday's electoral board hearing. "I would not be called as a witness for this board. I haven't been involved in any of the campaigns. And because of that, it's our position that I don't need to recuse myself because it was an appropriate designation."

She said she would listen to all of the evidence, consider all of the information provided and look at the law before making an unbiased decision.

Brumlik and Brogan alleged in their objection that Colatorti is ineligible for the office because he did not complete the Minimum Standards Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training course, something Colatorti's campaign has disputed.

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