Get ready for the robocalls and campaign mailings to start rolling in again.
March will bring the determination of the campaigning landscape for the next election cycle, when numerous local residents will go head-to-head in primary contests for the county, state and national offices that will be filled in November’s balloting.
As the week-long filing period wrapped up Monday, several residents of Naperville and nearby communities were in place for primary contests. Others are looking farther down the road, with November their sole prospective political undertaking.
Former City Councilwoman Darlene Senger, now serving in the Illinois General Assembly, is a contender for the Republican nod to challenge Democratic 11th U.S. Congressional District Rep. Bill Foster, who also is from Naperville. Senger first hopes to prevail in the March 18 primary over opponents Ian Bayne of Aurora, Lisle resident Craig Robbins, former Naperville business owner and current Hinsdale resident Bert Miller, and Channahon’s Chris Balkema.
Peter Roskam, who represents Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in Washington D.C., will run against Naperville resident and Democrat Michael Mason in November.
In the 14th District, incumbent Randall Hultgren, of Winfield, is running as a Republican; Dennis Anderson, of Gurnee, and John Hosta, of Spring Grove, will square off in the Democrat primary.
Amanda Mancke of Oswego, Mark Batinick of Plainfield and Richard Chapman of Shorewood are going for the GOP nomination to take the state seat now held by 97th District Rep. Tom Cross, who is in the running for Illinois state treasurer against primary opponent Bob Grogan, currently DuPage County auditor. The winner will face Champaign Democrat Michael Frerichs in November.
Current Naperville Councilman Grant Wehrli last week filed to take Senger’s spot representing Illinois’ 41st District in Springfield. So far he has no opponents, nor does Naperville’s Krishna Bansal, who is challenging Democratic 84th District Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego next year.
Several top DuPage County offices will be decided in November. No one has yet filed to challenge either first-term County Board Chairman Dan Cronin or longtime Treasurer Gwen Henry, both of whom plan to run again. But with County Clerk Gary King stepping down from the office he has held since 1986, Democrat Jean Kaczmarek of Glen Ellyn and Villa Park Republican Paul Hinds both aim to fill the post in November.
For the DuPage County Board, primary races are shaping up on both sides of the aisle in District 4 and a Republican primary will take place for District 6. District 5, which includes most of Naperville, has just first-term incumbent Republican board member Tonia Khouri of Aurora listed, with no Democrat having filed to challenge her. The two other District 5 board members, Naperville Republican Jim Healy and Democrat Tony Michelassi of Aurora, are both halfway through their current re-elected terms.
In Will County, incumbent Republican Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots will try to keep her seat in November, when Lockport Democrat Greg Sage hopes to replace her. Steve Weber, Will County’s incumbent Republican treasurer, faces a challenge from Crete Democrat Laurie Summers next November.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County will have some primary activity, when Naperville’s Mary Lou Wehrli vies for the GOP nomination against Joseph Cantore of Oak Brook for president. Both are currently commissioners on the district board. Longtime district President D. “Dewey” Pierotti will step down at the end of his current term.
Republican incumbent District 3 Commissioner Linda Painter also will face a primary challenge from Naperville resident Joseph Wozniak to serve on the Forest Preserve District board.
In Will County, Republican incumbents Suzanne Hart and Charles “Chuck” Maher, who represent Naperville and the rest of District 11 on the County Board, are being challenged in the primary by Michael “Big Mike” Strick, who lives on Naperville’s far southwest side. Aurora resident Darren Bennefield is challenging current County Board member Lee Ann Goodson of Plainfield to represent District 5, which includes Wheatland Township.
Longtime lawmen will be defending their positions in the upcoming contests as well. In DuPage County, Republican Sheriff John Zaruba will face a second challenge from West Chicago resident Mike Quiroz. After losing to Zaruba in the February 2010 GOP primary, Quiroz this time will run as a Democrat in November.
Republican Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas will be in a primary race this time, facing Shorewood resident Nick Ficarello. Also seeking the county’s top cop job are Democrats Ed Bradley, Steve Egan and Mike Kelley.
Those without opponents now won’t necessarily run unchallenged in the fall. Chuck Hinds, deputy supervisor of elections for the DuPage County Election Commission, said that if either major party fails to nominate a candidate during the primary filing period, the deadline for putting someone on the ballot is June 2. Independent candidates and those with new parties have until June 16 to submit their nominating papers, Hinds said.