Incumbent Lake County sheriff defeats Republican challenger, unofficial tallies show
Incumbent Sheriff John Idleburg, a Zion Democrat, handily defeated challenger Mark A. Vice II, a Round Lake Republican and a Lake County sheriff's deputy, according to unofficial vote totals Tuesday night.
Idleburg had 121,415 votes to Vice's 92,820 votes, according to unofficial tallies. At present, the votes uploaded include all of the vote-by-mail ballots, as well as all ballots cast during early voting. Every Election Day polling place in the county except one has reported unofficial totals.
As with many contests across the nation Tuesday, the day-of votes skewed Republican but the early and vote-by-mail ballots favored Democrats. Vice got 59,182 votes on Election Day to Idleburg's 56,418 votes, but Idleburg earned a combined 64,997 votes through early and vote-by-mail ballots compared to Vice's 33,638 in the same categories.
The vote total does not include any late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots or any provisional ballots. Idleburg's apparent victory won't be made official until the results are certified, which usually happens two weeks after Election Day.
Idleburg, 66, became the county's first Black sheriff in 2018 by narrowly defeating former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, a Republican who served 12 years.
Idleburg won that race by just 137 votes out of 245,633 cast -- a difference of just .06% -- in a race that went to the first large-scale recount in Illinois since 2003 and the first in Lake County.
Vice, 38, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Deputy Union and Fraternal Lodge 66, has served with the office for 16 years. He said Idleburg's support of the SAFE-T Act, a large-scale criminal justice reform bill signed into law in early 2021 that includes ending cash bail in Illinois, has hurt morale in the sheriff's office.
Idleburg was among a few sheriffs in the state to support the SAFE-T Act and said he often had to correct people's misconceptions about it on the campaign trail.
Idleburg's campaign entered October with around $54,800 more in the bank than Vice's campaign, according to state records.