Democrats Close To Controlling Lake County Board For First Time

LAKE COUNTY, IL — With the highest midterm election turnout in decades, Lake County Democrats captured two countywide offices and have a chance at taking control of the County Board, according to unofficial results from the Lake County Clerk’s Office. Those results do not include provisional and late-arriving mail ballots. Three board races were too each within 200 votes as of Wednesday, but if preliminary vote counts Democrats picking up four board seats of the eight on the ballot to take 11 seats on the 21-member board.

Democratic candidates were clear winners in the races for clerk and treasurer, while the party’s nominee for Sheriff appeared to have fallen short, according to the unofficial results. Former Libertyville trustee Robin O’Connor defeated incumbent Clerk Carla Wyckoff by close to 20,000 votes and former Mundelein trustee and mayoral candidate Holly Kim was on track to beat first-term Treasurer David Stolman, who previously spent more than two decades on the county board, by nearly 30,000 votes.

Sheriff Mark Curran, a Libertyville Republican, held a 754-vote lead over challenger John Idleburg, a Democrat from Zion, who had not yet conceded pending official results. Idleburg, a former federal agent, aimed to deny a fourth term as sheriff to Curran, who first won office on the Democratic ticket in 2006 before joining the Republican Party two years later.

On the Lake County Board, Democrats appeared to pick up at least two Republican-held seats. For the District 18 seat vacated by Aaron Lawlor, Hawthorn School District 73 Board Member Julie Simpson led Republican Karimar “Kari” Brown 55.1 percent to 44.9 percent. Brown was picked by local party leaders to replace Lawlor after the former board chair announced he had entered rehab and would be going on indefinite leave. In District 6, marketing consultant, former Grayslake trustee and first-term Board Member, Jeff Werfel, is out, according to unofficial results. Author and journalist John Wasik held a 55.7 percent to 44.23 percent lead, with more than 1,300 votes separating the two, according to the unofficial results.

Democratic candidates narrowly led in two other board but trailed interim County Board Chair Carol Calabresa, a Libertyville Republican who held a 74-vote lead in her race against economics professor Jennifer Clark in the 15th District. Former mayor of Buffalo Grove Sid Mathias trailed pubic relations consultant Adam Didech in District 20 by about 158 viotes. Meanwhile, according to the unofficial results, Jessica Vealitzek had a lead of just 16 votes over Charles “Chuck” Bartels.

Bartels told the Lake County News-Sun he has not ruled out a potential recount request after vote totals are made official. Wyckoff told the News-Sun about 1,000 provisional ballots and any ballots mailed in before election day that were not received in time to be counted will be added to the vote totals in two weeks when the results are made official. According to the News-Sun, the last time Lake County Democrats have held so many countywide offices was in the aftermath of Watergate, and the party has never before had control of the county board.

Amazingly, the 16 votes separating Bartels and Vealitzek does not the closest race in Lake County. In the race to become state representative for the 51st District, which includes Barrington, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Long Grove and Mundelein, Helene Miller Walsh. Walsh, the wife of a conservative radio host is locked in a single-digit showdown with Mary Edly-Allen. As of Wednesday, Edly-Allen had a lead of two votes – 25,109 to 25,109. The seat has opened following the resignation of Nick Sauer in response to allegations he used nude photos of an ex-girlfriend to “catfish” men on the internet.

Overall Lake County turnout was 55.33 percent – with 248,051 ballots cast – compared to 50.13 percent in 2014, 51.28 percent in 2010, 51.57 percent in 2006, 52.67 percent in 2002 and 51.24 percent in 1998, according to the clerk’s office. A new board is due to be sworn in on Dec. 3, with members responsible for electing a new chair.

Top photo: Lake County Building (Street View)

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November 8, 2018 at 02:35AM

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