DeKALB – Sycamore attorney Richard Amato cruised to victory Tuesday in a three-way race for the Republican nomination for State's Attorney.
Amato won with 5,632 votes, or 44 percent of the votes cast. Clay Campbell was runner-up with 4,012 votes, and Charles Rea finished in third place with 3,233 votes, according to unofficial totals .
"I’m proud of the work we did," Amato said. "I’m proud of our supporters, friends and family that have worked with me. I’m thankful for the new friends I have by doing this. I’m appreciative of my wife for what she’s put up with the last two months."
Amato, a Sycamore private attorney, will challenge incumbent DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack, a Democrat, in November's general election. Amato is running on a platform that includes improving cooperation between the state's attorney's office and local law enforcement agencies to make prosecuting case more efficient.
The American Legion Post 66 was crowded Tuesday with court employees and law enforcement rallying behind Amato. Even Campbell said he was happy to see Amato succeed.
"Any time you lose to a good man, it’s actually fairly gratifying," Campbell said.
Although election has been contentious at times, Rea said he is happy to have met so many of DeKalb County's voters throughout the process.
"It really is touching to think of all of the people who have done things for you just out of the goodness of their hearts or because they believe in you," he said. "It’s really been a warm and wonderful experience."
If elected, Amato's said he would concentrate efforts on the prosecution of the county’s most serious crimes, including cases where physical harm has taken place, cases involving child victims, and repeat felony offenders, he has said.
Amato started 2016 with more than $18,000 in campaign receipts and $9,700 on hand. Most of the funds are loans Amato made to his campaign committee. He has loaned his campaign more than $17,000, according to filings with the state board of elections.
Amato and Campbell have agreed throughout their campaigns that the prosecution of traffic offenses, juvenile cases and marijuana charges are often drawn out and prevent. Time spent on these crimes takes away from work more serious criminal case.
A zero-tolerance policy toward violent crimes could be the solution to fast-tracking cases through the court system and preventing recidivism of violent offenders, Amato said.
Amato served as an assistant state’s attorney in DeKalb County for one year in 2003, before leaving to begin his own practice, Law Office of Amato and Sheen, 310 E. State St., Sycamore.
It's too early to tell if Amato's campaign will change, should he take on Schmack in the general election, Amato said.
"One down and one to go," he said. "[We'll] keep moving forward with the same plan we’ve been doing."