Noland, McConnaughay, Oberweis in lead for Senate
By Emily McFarlan firstname.lastname@example.org March 20, 2012 7:50PM
Illinois Senate 33rd District candidate Karen McConnaughay reacts with Eric Hartman (left) and Dan Drzal on results to Tuesday's election. March 20, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 11:40AM
WEST DUNDEE — A cheer went up from the table as the first numbers from Kane County numbers began popping up at about 9 p.m. on back-to-back computer screens set up on a table upstairs at Emmett’s in West Dundee.
“Obviously, supporters are always great to reach a conclusion early in the evening,” said Kane County Board Chairwoman Karen McConnaughay.
But with about 80 percent of precincts in Kane and McHenry counties reporting and about 60 percent of the vote about half an hour later, McConnaughay said, “I guess this means we actually did it.”
McConnaughay defeated Cliff Surges of Gilberts for the 33rd Illinois Senate District Republican nomination. No Democrats filed for the office.
The St. Charles resident has been a member of the Kane County Board since 1992 and was elected chairman in both 2004 and 2008.
The 3rd District includes 17 municipalities and spans much of northern Kane County, from Batavia northwest to Huntley. No Democrats ran this year for a seat in the district.
Surges is an insurance agent and former Gilberts Village Board trustee.
In his concession speech Tuesday night, Surges said he respected the decision of voters and wished McConnaughay well after both had fought hard in the election.
“Our Republican party must come together now, and fight for the hard working citizens and taxpayers in this state,” he said. “I pledge to the people of the 33rd Senate District and all the people of Illinois, that although our current campaign is ended, I will continue to fight for our true Republican values of smaller, more efficient government and lower taxes in Illinois.”
Although the two candidates appeared to agree on most issues during debates, it was at times a contentious race, during which Surges accused the chairwoman ofpay to playpolitics. Meantime, McConnaughay revealed public records that show her opponent has been late paying property taxes on both his Kane County home and Chicago insurance office on 25 separate occasions since 2002.
“This was a rough campaign. I think we all know politics has become a much harder business than it used to be,” McConnaughay said.
“I really believe we will turn a corner in Illinois and put things back on the right track and make Illinois a place we can be proud to live in.”
Incumbent state Sen. Michael Noland, DElgin, said Tuesday afternoon that he hoped his gathering to watch election returns for the 22nd Senate District that night at Streamwood VFW Post No. 5151 would be a festive occasion.
“We’ve been working hard. We’re taking nothing for granted,” Noland said. “You never know when things could go the other way with low voter turnout like this.”
And as early results of those were posted, it appeared the state senator would get the festivities for which he had hoped.
Results showed Noland leading opponent Tim Elenz of Streamwood with 66 percent of the vote in both Kane and Cook counties.
Noland had only narrowly defeated former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, R-Elgin, by 585 of 36,789 total votes in 2010.
“I think he gave me more of a run for my money — more of a fight — than the numbers suggest. I think he ran a pretty clean race,” Noland said of Elenz.
This was the first senatorial primary for the Elgin resident and two-term incumbent, first elected to his seat in 2006 after losing Illinois House of Representative races in 2002 and 2004.
Elenz is an insurance broker and co-host of the political radio program “Left, Right, and You” Tuesdays on WRMN 1410.
The 22nd District covers eight municipalities and four townships, from Dundee Township in the north to Hanover Township in the south. No Republicans ran this year for a seat in the district.
Moving forward, Noland said his top priority for his next term is “getting the state’s finances in order.”
The fifth time proved to be the charm for businessman Jim Oberweis, running for the GOP nomination in the 25th Senate District.
The Sugar Grove resident, owner of Oberweis Asset Management and chairman for Oberweis Dairy, finished the night with 49 percent of the vote. Challengers Dave Richmond, the Blackberry Township supervisor, took 30 percent; and Rick Slocum, an attorney and former president of the West Aurora School Board, 21 percent.
Oberweis has run and lost for office five times, twice for the U.S. Senate, once for governor, and twice against Democrat Bill Foster for the 14th Congressional District seat.
He celebrated the victory at the Kendall County Republican Central Committee election night party at Ralph’s Place in Bristol.
He now faces a November battle against Democrat Corinne Pierog of St. Charles.
Pierog took 66 percent of the vote, beating Steven Hunter of Geneva, a Navy veteran who now works for AT&T in network operations.
Pierog owns a management consulting business and has served on the St. Charles School Board since 2009. Her campaign focused on cleaning up the state’s budget without sacrificing funding to education and social services.
The redrawn 25th Senate District stretches from the tip of northwestern Cook County south along the Kane-DuPage border, around Aurora and into northern Kendall County.
Staff Writer Jenette Sturges contributed to this report.