Redistricting, retirements change political landscape in Fox Valley
By Dave Gathman and Matt Hanley email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org July 1, 2012 9:24PM
Updated: August 3, 2012 6:06AM
The ballots for that Nov. 6 general election are set. So do you know who your candidate is?
The state deadline for the established (that is, Republican and Democratic) parties to slate candidates for spots where no one ran in the March 20 primary passed earlier this month. And June 25 was the last day for independent and third-party candidates to file to run.
The March primary narrowed the field of candidates for local offices. But thanks to low turnout in the local primaries, the retirement of several longtime legislators and significant shifts in the Fox Valley’s political boundaries due to the once-every-10-years redistricting process, many voters will find still-unfamiliar names on the November ballot.
The Fox Valley’s population explosion has created several new state legislative districts, some of which seem very convoluted and stretched-out, opening some new job opportunities for veteran politicians. For example, the new 33rd State Senate District stretches along the west side of the Fox River all the way from Batavia on the south through the west sides of Geneva, St. Charles and South Elgin and on north and west to Hampshire and Huntley. That gave two-term Kane County Board Chairwoman Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles a chance to run for the state Senate without having to come face to face against an entrenched incumbent.
The U.S. House districts in our area were shaken up even more radically and bizarrely by the Democratic-controlled legislature redrawing those lines, leaving two freshman Tea Party-oriented Republican congressmen, Joe Walsh and Randy Hultgren, living in the same newly drawn 14th District. Rather than challenge each other in the primary, Walsh decided to seek election in the new 8th District, even though his McHenry home is a bit outside the district borders. (Nothing in the Constitution or state law requires a Congressman to live inside the district he represents.)
Here’s a look at the races you’ll find on the ballot Nov. 6 — and the candidates you’ll likely see marching in your Fourth of July parade on Wednesday:
District facts: When Democrats redraw the congressional districts, they reportedly decided to emphasize putting more Democratically inclined voters into the adjoining 8th and sacrificed the 6th, which for many years was home to Rep. Henry Hyde and for two terms has been represented by Republican Peter Roskam. Still, the district is much less solidly GOP than in its old alignment when it centered on DuPage County. Now it reaches into Kane, Cook, Lake and McHenry counties, too.
Leslie Coolidge, Barrington Hills, Democrat. A Harvard-educated certified public accountant and former partner in KPMG, she beat two challengers handily in the primary but will have her hands full against the deep-pocketed, established Roskam and his $2 million campaign fund. www.coolidgeforcongress.com
Peter Roskam, Wheaton, Republican. The chief deputy majority whip in the House (the GOP’s No. 4-ranking leader there), Roskam beat Tammy Duckworth to be elected to his first term in 2006. www.roskamforcongress.com
District facts: This is one of the districts that the whole nation has its eye on, as high-profile arch-conservative Joe Walsh faces an assault from Iraq War heroine Tammy Duckworth, who has been moved by the redistricting pen from the 6th District into the 8th. The district includes the east part of Elgin plus parts of Cook, DuPage and Kane counties.
Tammy Duckworth, Hoffman Estates, Democrat. Born to a U.S. military man and a mother of Chinese ancestry, Duckworth lost both legs while flying a helicopter in combat in Iraq in 2004. After working as assistant secretary of veterans affairs, she ran unsuccessfully against Roskam for Congress in 2010. www.tammyduckworth.com
Joe Walsh, McHenry, Republican. An idol of the anti-tax, anti-government Tea Party set, Walsh got into Congress with a surprise win over incumbent Melissa Bean in 2010 despite allegations about unpaid child support, unpaid taxes and a hair-trigger temper. www.walshforcongress.com
District facts: Once the home ground of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who then lived in Yorkville, the new 14th Congressional District touches seven counties, including Kane, Kendall and DuPage. It stretches from Illinois’ northern border, south to Kendall County and Naperville, while grabbing large chunks of the Tri-Cities along the way.
Dennis Anderson, Gurnee, Democrat. Anderson is a first-time political candidate who has worked as an administrator in the medical research field, mostly at Loyola University’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. www.dennisforcongress.com
Randy Hultgren, Winfield Township, Republican. The former DuPage County Board member was elected to the Illinois House in 1999, then the Illinois Senate in 2007. In 2010, he beat Bill Foster for the Congressional seat in the 14th District. hultgrenforcongress.com
District facts: The 22nd includes most of Elgin and East Dundee plus the east side of Carpentersville and much of Streamwood and Hoffman Estates.
Michael Noland, Elgin, Democrat. A lawyer who believes in walking door to door all over his district and holding numerous townhall meetings, Noland has represented the once-Republican district since 2007. noland.org
Cary Collins, Hoffman Estates, Republican. When nobody ran in the Republican primary, GOP leadership slated Collins to take on Noland. An attorney who specializes in administrative, municipal and pension law, he is a former Hoffman Estates Village Board member. www.cjcollins4senate.com
District facts: Longtime State Sen. Chris Lauzen, a Republican, decided not to run for re-election, and instead is running for Kane County Board chairman. The 25th District follows Route 47 from Yorkville to St. Charles on its western half. In general, the eastern half of the district covers most of the area between Route 31 and Route 59 from Elgin to I-88.
Jim Oberweis, Republican, Sugar Grove. Oberweis is chairman of Oberweis dairy company and founder of the Oberweis Asset Management investment firm. He previously ran for governor, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House. jimoberweis.com
Corinne Pierog, St. Charles, Democrat. Pierog is the owner of Sustainable Leadership Solutions and a member of the St. Charles District 303 School Board since 2009. www.ElectCorinnePierog.com
District facts: The 33rd covers much of Kane County west of the Fox from Batavia up through St. Charles and the west side of South Elgin, then extends westward to Huntley, Pingree Grove and Hampshire.
Karen McConnaughay, St. Charles, Republican. A Kane County board member since 1992 and the board chairwoman since 2004, she gave up that post to cvast her eye on Springfield. She first had to defeat a surprisingly tough challenge from former Gilberts trustee Cliff Surges in the primary. mconnaughayforsenate.org
Doug Marks, Carpentersville, Libertarian. No Democrat ran in the primary or was slated to run afterward. But on Monday, Marks did file 3,400 petition signatures to run on the Libertarian Party banner, emphasizing what he calls “a high degree of both economic and personal liberty.” dougmarks2012.webs.com
District facts: Covers much of Elgin, East Dundee and eastern Carpentersville.
Keith Farnham, Elgin, Democrat. A Navy veteran and business owner, Farnham has represented the 43rd since he replaced Republican Ruth Munson in 2008.
Richard Evans, Elgin, Constitution Party. Evans filed petitions to run just before last week’s third-party/independent deadline.
District facts: Covers the Streamwood-Hoffman Estates area.
Fred Crespo, Hoffman Estates, Democrat. A former real estate agent, Crespo has represented the 44th since 2007.
Ramiro Juarez, Streamwood, Republican. A primary-school teacher, Juarez was born and grew up in Arlington Heights. www.juarezforillinois.com
District facts: West of Elgin, from Hampshire, Pingree Grove and Huntley down through South Elgin and St. Charles all the way to Batavia.
Republican Tim Schmitz of Batavia has represented what was then called the 49th District. He has no Democratic challenger.
District facts: West Dundee, west side of Carpentersville and on up through Crystal Lake.
Republican Michael W. Tryon of Crystal Lake has represented what was then called the 64th District. He has no Democratic challenger.
KANE COUNTY (*=Incumbent)
County Board Chairman: Democrat, Sue Klinkhamer; Republican, Chris Lauzen
State’s attorney: No Democrat; Republican, Joe McMahon*
County Clerk: Democrat, Edmund Nendick; Republican, Tom Hartwell
Auditor: No Democrat; Republican, Terry Hunt; Libertarian, Julie Fox
Coroner: Democrat, Tao Martinez; Republican, Robert “Rob” Russell
Recorder: Democrat, Brenda Rodgers; Republican, Sandy Wegman*
District 9: No Democrat; Republican, Thomas (T.R.) Smith*
District 12: No Democrat; Republican, John Hoscheit*
District 13: No Democrat; Republican, Philip Lewis*
District 14: Democrat, Nadia Blanc Daley; Republican, Mark Davoust*
District 15: No Democrat; Republican, Barbara Wojnicki*
District 16: Democrat, Jennifer Barconi; Republican, Michael Kenyon*
District 17: Democrat, Deborah Allan*; Republican, Jeffrey Meyer
District 18: Democrat, Kerri Branson; Republican, Drew Frasz
District 19: Democrat, Hidayak Khan; Republican, Kurt Kojzarek
District 20: Democrat, Cristina Castro*; Republican, Henoch Fuentes
District 21: Democrat, Darren Parochelli; Republican, Rebecca Gilliam
District 22: Democrat, Bob Getz; Republican, Douglas Scheflow
District 23: Democrat, Kevin S. Smith; Republican, Maggie Auger*
District 24: Democrat, Joseph Halmann; No Republican
State Board of Elections: www.elections.il.gov
Kane County clerk: www.kanecountyelections.com