Incumbents from both parties reelected in Lake County Board races
Democrats retained a solid majority and incumbents from both parties prevailed Tuesday in reelection bids for the Lake County Board.
And with three newcomers assured because of redistricting, Democrats were ahead in two of those three races. Democrats hold a 15-6 majority in the current configuration but the number of seats has been reduced to 19 for when the new board is seated Dec. 5.
Unofficial numbers as reported about 11:30 p.m. showed the Democrats likely retaining a 14-5 majority on the board. The tallies included early voting, Election Day and vote-by-mail ballots but not provisional and late-arriving mail ballots.
Results showed voters apparently agreed with how the county has been running with Democrats in charge. County board members double as forest preserve commissioners.
Incumbent Democrats John Wasik in District 6 in the Grayslake area, Carissa Casbon in District 7 in the Gurnee/Waukegan area, and county board Chair Sandy Hart in District 13, for example, held comfortable leads.
So did several other incumbent Democrats including Jennifer Clark in District 15, covering parts of Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills; Paul Frank of District 11 and Paras Parekh in District 12 in the Deerfield/Highland Park/Lake Forest area; and, Jessica Vealitzek of District 10 covering all or parts of Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Mundelein and Vernon Hills, all had convincing victories.
Democratic seats held by incumbents Diane Hewitt, Mary Ross Cunningham and Angelo Kyle in the Waukegan and North Chicago area were uncontested.
Republican incumbents Linda Pedersen in District 1 and J. Kevin Hunter in District 5 in the Antioch, Fox Lake and Lake Villa area, Michael Danforth in District 17 covering parts of the Barrington area, Lake Zurich and Lakemoor trounced their opponents. Veteran Republican board member Ann Maine in District 3 also had a comfortable lead.
In District 2, Republican Adam Schlick, a Wauconda village trustee, with 7,220 votes was ahead of Linda Troester, who was making her first run for elected office with 6,905 votes.
Schlick, a battalion chief for the Wauconda Fire District will be the fifth Republican on the board.
During the campaigns, Democrats touted a list of accomplishments including balanced budgets and a flat tax levy for three consecutive years, increased funding for mental health programming, and a commitment to environmental measures.
"Voters in Lake County are aware of how much of a positive difference candidates have made on the county level," said Lauren Beth Gash, Lake County Democrats chair.
"This board has a great track record of achievements in a relatively short period of time," she added.
Generally, Republican candidates said the board had put partisan politics over the interests of constituents. Some said a 4 cents per gallon gas tax should be repealed and that a measure banning leaf burning be modified.
In the newly created District 16 centered on the Round Lake area, Democrat Esiah Campos in his first run for public office made history by becoming the first Latino elected to the county board defeating Republican Edward Liberman. At 26, Campos also becomes the board's youngest member.
One incumbent chose not to run and the other lost a bid for a state seat in District 16.
In a statement, Campos said the victory "embodies the growing electoral power of the Latino community, not only in Lake County, but across the state."
A Navy reservist and pension analyst for Local 705 International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Campos said during the campaign he ran because of a lack of leadership in the district and a lack of representation for Latino and working-class families. He said he will fight to ensure their voices are heard.
Besides Schlick in District 2, Democrat Sara Frederick Knizhnik, a Vernon Township trustee, with 7,268 votes easily outdistanced Republican Kimberly Lynch with 5,671 votes, according to unofficial results.
Knizhnik helped establish the office of violence prevention in the Lake County state's attorney's office, which launched in June and staffs a team of 10 "violence interrupters."
District 18 covers all or parts of Buffalo Grove, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, Lake Zurich, Lincolnshire and Long Grove.