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Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

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Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

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Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

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Tom Wilbeck

The outcomes of all local McHenry County races remained the same after election results were updated for the last time Tuesday evening.

The results of only one race had changed when the McHenry County Clerk’s Office last updated results a week ago: Democrat Tanya Jindrich had taken the lead over Republican Mike Shorten for the second of two McHenry County Board seats representing District 3. That result remained the same Tuesday evening when the final tallies were totaled.

In the three-way race for a seat representing southeastern District 1 on the McHenry County Board, Democrat Theresa Meshes, retained her lead over Republican Yvonne Barnes.

Ultimately, Meshes had 32.6% of the vote, while Barnes had 32.1%. The remaining ballots strengthened newcomer Meshes’ lead over Barnes slightly, putting her 178 votes above Barnes.

Incumbent Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, beat out both of them. His 14,039 votes gave him 35.3% of the vote.

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McHenry County Board Chair Jack Franks

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, an incumbent Democrat, conceded his bid for re-election to his Republican opponent, Mike Buehler, at a meeting of the County Board Thursday morning.

Franks – who trails Buehler by over 9,000 votes, nearly six percentage points – said he thought it was time to acknowledge that McHenry County voters have spoken in choosing Buehler to lead the County Board through the next four years.

Read on here.

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Tom Wilbeck

County Clerk Joe Tirio said 6,023 ballots were added to the latest countywide count Tuesday evening, and no more counting would be reported until Nov. 17, the last day the clerk can receive mail-in ballots that had been postmarked by Nov. 3, when polls closed.

There were still 642 mail-in ballots that had been returned countywide and not yet counted after Tuesday’s update, with 14,967 mail-in ballots requested but not yet received by election officials.

As long as ballots were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 17, they will be counted. There also remained 1,211 provisional ballots from across the county that could be added to totals on Nov. 17.

That means the leaders in some of McHenry County’s closer races could change once again.

In the race for the McHenry County chairman job, Republican newcomer Mike Buehler, of Crystal Lake, still was leading with 52.9% of the vote over Marengo Democrat’s Jack D. Franks’ 47.1%. Before the ballots were updated, Buehler had 53% of the vote. 

As of Tuesday, Buehler had 83,691 votes while Franks trailed behind at 74,596.

In the three-way race for a seat representing southeastern District 1 on the McHenry County Board, Democrat Theresa Meshes, retained her slim lead over Republican Yvonne Barnes. Meshes, on Tuesday, had 32.59% of the vote, while Barnes had 32.16%.

However, the updated ballots strengthened newcomer Meshes’ lead over Barnes slightly, putting her 168 votes above Barnes.

Incumbent Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, is leading over both of them. His 13,872 votes gives him 35.26% of the vote.

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Tom Wilbeck

McHenry County’s election results will not be updated further until Wednesday, Nov. 18, after the state’s Nov. 17 deadline for counting ballots, meaning voters will not know the results of many races until then, McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio said Wednesday.

The county’s results for several national, state and local races remain too close to call with about 18,000 mail-in ballots that could still be returned, according to the clerk’s office. Provisional ballots have also not been added to the totals.

This leaves several races hanging in the balance as election staff continue processing and counting mail-in and provisional ballots over the next two weeks. All mail-in ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 are eligible to be counted, Tirio said in an interview last week.

The race for county board chairman has Republican challenger Mike Buehler leading incumbent Democrat Jack Franks by about 9,500 votes, according to Tuesday night’s unofficial results which were last updated just after midnight.

In the race to represent county board District 1, in the southeastern corner of the county, Democratic newcomer Theresa Meshes is neck-and-neck with Republican incumbent Yvonne Barnes, with Meshes leading by 37 votes. Republican Tom Wilbeck, also an incumbent, leads both of them by a similarly slim margin of about 1,100 votes.

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Marengo’s Zion Lutheran School has not reported a single case of the virus among students or staff in the 54 days they have been in school

Leaders of local private schools told McHenry County Board members that in-person learning has been safe and successful for them, while many public school districts have chosen to heed guidance from the McHenry County Department of Health about returning to remote learning.

With much frustration and fear coming from community members who support either in-person or remote learning, Public Health and Community Services Committee Chairman Chris Christensen said he invited the local private school leaders to Thursday’s meeting for a fruitful, level-headed exchange of ideas.

It’s about “talking to some of the private schools that are having such success in keeping their kids in school,” said Christensen, who represents District 3 on the County Board. “COVID-19 doesn’t understand the difference between a public school and a private school necessarily, but I know the numbers can be different.”

Among the invited guests were Dan Bertrand and Merri-Lynne Seaburg, co-principals of Marengo’s Zion Lutheran School, who said they have not reported a single case of the virus among students or staff in the 54 days they have been in school.

“There is no reason why you cannot have kids in school right now,” Bertrand said. “There is no place safer for a kid to be than in the schools. … The virus is not being transmitted inside of schools.”

Bertrand referenced a Brown University study titled “Schools Aren’t Super-spreaders,” in which data on 200,000 students in 47 states from the end of September was analyzed to reveal an average COVID-19 infection rate of 0.13% of students and 0.24% of teachers.

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Suburban voters already have reportedly cast more than 266,000 early or mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 3rd presidential election, with early voting slated to expand across the region starting today.

County clerks are ramping up early voting today, with 17 sites available in Lake County, 11 in McHenry and more than 50 in suburban Cook. Kane County offers seven permanent early voting sites, eight alternative sites and various mobile locations starting today through Oct. 28th.

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To the Editor:

Judge Mark Gerhardt is running for Circuit Judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit-4th Subcircuit. I have known Mark as a practicing trial attorney and as a colleague on the bench. In both capacities, Mark has always been prepared, professional and knowledgeable of the law.

He expects no more or no less of those attorneys appearing before him.

A judicial race is not about partisan politics. it is not about gender. There are a number of major considerations in deciding which candidate is best suited for the position of Circuit Judge.

Does the candidate have integrity? Is the candidate impartial? Will the candidate apply the law fairly, without discrimination? Does the candidate have the requisite experience and knowledge to hear and rule on all types of cases, criminal and civil?

Does the candidate have the ability and foresight to improve the Court in its administration of justice and in servicing all the people of McHenry County?

When it comes to Judge Mark Gerhardt, the answer to all of the foregoing questions is unequivocally yes. Mark Gerhardt has all the qualities we deserve to have in our judges in McHenry County.

Maureen McIntyre

Barrington Hills

Source

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Tom Wilbeck

District 1

Voters in the McHenry County Board’s District 1, which includes parts of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake, Barrington Hills, Cary and Fox River Grove, have the choice between three candidates to fill two board seats at stake in the Nov. 3 election.

Incumbent Republicans Tom Wilbeck and Yvonne M. Barnes face a challenge from Democrat Theresa Meshes.

We endorse Wilbeck of Barrington Hills and Barnes of Cary. Both candidates have proved knowledgeable on the county’s issues. Wilbeck and Barnes also have residents’ best interests in mind and support reducing property taxes. Wilbeck is adamant about balancing revenues and expenditures, while Barnes offers a solid plan moving forward with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tom Wilbeck

Some candidates for the McHenry County Board pushed for body cameras for the sheriff’s office, arguing they would help protect officers as well as residents, but others appeared hesitant because of the capital cost of such an endeavor.

This discussion was part of an endorsement interview last week facilitated by the editorial boards of the Northwest Herald and the Daily Herald. The Northwest Herald will be publishing additional stories in the days to come, laying out the background and positions of candidates across county, state and federal races.

The McHenry County Board is made up of 24 members representing six districts. Voters this fall will be tasked with picking two candidates for the district where they live. Half of the county board’s seats are open this election year.

District 1 — in the southeastern corner of McHenry County and includes all or parts of Huntley, Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Trout Valley, Fox River Grove and Cary — is represented by Tom Wilbeck, a Republican from Barrington Hills, and Yvonne Barnes, a Republican from Cary. Democrat Theresa Meshes also is running in the district.

Wilbeck told the editorial boards Thursday he believes in small government and saving taxpayers money. Barnes and Meshes did not participate in the interview.

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