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Local Election

Democrats will field a candidate for McHenry County Board chairman

Dems will caucus someone to run against Republican Michael Walkup

The Democratic Party of McHenry County will be slating a candidate to run for County Board chairman.

The party will caucus Sunday morning at the Holiday Inn Express in Algonquin to choose a candidate to run against Republican nominee Michael Walkup, Chairman Michael Bissett said. The candidate will be announced later in the day, along with two more County Board candidates that the party will choose Saturday.

Bissett would not divulge the identities of any of the three proposed candidates.

Walkup, of Crystal Lake, narrowly beat out incumbent County Board chairman Joe Gottemoller, also of Crystal Lake, by 1,389 votes, or just under 3 percent, in the March 15 primary. This election is the first in which voters are electing the chairman, following a successful 2014 referendum that ended the practice of the County Board electing the position from among themselves.

Walkup also is running for his seat representing County Board District 3 so that he can vote on issues. State law forbids a popularly elected chairman in a county the size of McHenry’s from voting on anything, but allows the holding of essentially dual offices – chairman and rank-and-file board member – as a way around the prohibition.

The Democratic Party last month slated candidates to run for two other countywide offices.

Party members slated Lynn Gray of Marengo to run for county recorder against Republican nominee Joe Tirio of Woodstock, who is running on a platform of abolishing the office altogether, as other counties have done. They also slated Johnsburg attorney James Harrison, who in 2014 unsuccessfully ran as an independent against Republican Sheriff Bill Prim, to run for state’s attorney against Republican nominee Patrick Kenneally of Crystal Lake.

The Democratic Party last month also slated three candidates to run for County Board on top of the five who ran in March to get on the Nov. 8 ballot. With this latest and most likely final round of postelection slatings before the May 31 state deadline, the Democratic Party will field 10 candidates for County Board, with a full complement of two candidates apiece running in four of the County Board’s six districts.

State law gives political parties after a primary election a window with which to slate candidates to run for vacant spots on the ballot. Candidates must still file the number of signatures required by law.

Republicans currently hold all county government elected offices.

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