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Gov’s race big draw in GOP primary

Some local GOP officials unhappy with ‘nasty’ campaigning

Election Judge Catherine Cwiklinski exlains the ballot to a voter Friday at the DeKalb County Administrative Building.
Election Judge Catherine Cwiklinski exlains the ballot to a voter Friday at the DeKalb County Administrative Building.

The Republican gubernatorial primary likely will take center stage Tuesday as DeKalb County voters will see just one or two contested local races at the polls.

Two Democrats are battling for their party’s nomination for DeKalb County clerk and recorder, while two Republicans are running in District 9 for DeKalb County Board.

Meanwhile, Democrats will have their choice between two candidates hoping to defeat Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield, in November in the 14th Congressional District, and Republicans will choose between incumbent Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Channahon or David Hale, founder of the Rockford Tea Party.

The field for governor is a little more crowded, though, with most eyes focused on the Republicans. On the Democratic ballot, Gov. Pat Quinn and his running mate, Paul Vallas, will face Democratic contenders Tio Hardiman and Donald Brunell.

“Gov. Quinn has an opponent we don’t know much about,” said Mark Pietrowski, chairman of the DeKalb County Democratic Party. “I think the interest is more for the Republican primary – it’s hotly contested with a number of candidates.”

DeKalb County GOP Chairman Steve Kuhn isn’t happy with the way the Republicans are running their campaigns.

The Republican primary has four teams seeking their party’s nomination: State Sen. Bill Brady and Maria Rodriguez; state Sen. Kirk Dillard and state Rep. Jil Tracy; Bruce Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti; and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and Steve Kim.

“I wish the race was a lot cleaner and not as nasty as it is,” Kuhn said. “We’ve been hurting ourselves in the governor’s race.”

Kuhn said it seems Rauner is ahead, but Dillard is catching up. According to a Chicago Tribune / WGN-TV poll released March 9, Rauner is leading with 36 percent, but Dillard’s support has surged to 23 percent.

“They are the two favorites right now,” Kuhn said Tuesday afternoon.

Republicans also have a primary for state treasurer, with state Rep. Tom Cross, 55, of Plainfield, and certified public account and DuPage County auditor Bob Grogan, 46, of Westmont, facing off. The winner will face state Democratic Sen. Michael Frerichs, 40, of Gifford.

Local races

Party chairmen believe there are a couple of reasons more people don’t seek elected office, even at the local level.

“If people see the incumbent is doing a good job, no one wants to challenge them,” Pietrowski said. “In general, even when people want to run for office, they want to avoid the primaries if they can.”

Pietrowski said often someone who is considering a run doesn’t follow through if someone they respect has already made the decision to run. Kuhn said some people don’t want to expose themselves to the publicity of a political campaign.

Two Democratic candidates have thrown their hats in the ring for the county clerk’s job: Trent Taylor of DeKalb and Denise Ii, Sandwich city clerk. The county board’s District 9 has two Republican contenders for the November nomination: Samuel-Louis Bandy Jr. and Craig Genteman.

Several townships – Cortland, Kingston, Sycamore and Victor – also are asking voters if the township should have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have opted out of such a program.

14th Congressional District

In the final stretch before Election Day, the two Democratic hopefuls in the 14th Congressional District primary have two very different messages.

Small businessman John J. Hosta, 54, of Spring Grove, has been emphasizing protecting U.S. industry by limiting foreign trade and encouraging manufacturing job growth. His opponent, Dennis Anderson, 63, of Gurnee, is stressing that constituents need someone besides Republican incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield.

16th Congressional District

After defeating a poorly-funded Democratic challenger in 2012, Kinzinger will face his Rockford Tea Party opponent, David Hale. In the days leading up to the primary, the two have disagreed over who is more fiscally conservative. Although both are veterans, they’ve also disagreed on matters of military pay and benefits.

Generally, Hale, a U.S. Army veteran, calls for drastic cuts in government spending, but he said he draws the line at pay and benefits for the military, although he previously proposed withholding all military benefits until veterans turn 58.

Kinzinger has touted his support for the military. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force after graduating college graduation in 2003, served two tours in Iraq and was later awarded his pilot wings. He continues to serve as a pilot in the Air National Guard, holding the rank of major.

U.S. Senate

Two Republicans are hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin in November, Fox Valley businessman Jim Oberweis, 67, and political newcomer Doug Truax, 43, co-owner and managing partner of Oak Brook-based Veritas Risk Services LLC, a strategic risk consulting firm.

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