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One incumbent ousted in races for County Board

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:11 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:16 a.m. CDT

Republican voters on Tuesday sent one McHenry County Board incumbent home.

Voters in rural District 6 chose newcomer Larry Smith over incumbent Ersel Schuster, but the six other incumbents running in contested primaries won by comfortable margins.

Republican voters in four of the County Board's six districts had to narrow their field of candidates to two who will go on to the November election. The victors in at least three of those districts will face Democratic challengers, two of them incumbents.

Half of the County Board is up for election this year, or two seats in each of the board's districts.

All vote totals are unofficial.

• District 1: Incumbent Robert Nowak and challenger Andrew Gasser will go on to the November election.

Nowak, now living in Lake in the Hills, received 2,528 votes. Gasser, of Fox River Grove, received 2,384. Barrington Hills attorney David Stieper lost with 1,799 votes.

Nowak, former Cary building and planning director, and Gasser, a retired Air Force officer and founder of a tea party space policy think tank, will run in November against Democratic incumbent Nick Chirikos, of Algonquin.

"I am really humbled by all the support that I got from the voters of my district, and I really look forward to a spirited campaign in November, and eventually being their County Board member," Gasser said.

District 1 covers southern and eastern Algonquin townships and a sliver of Grafton Township, including parts of Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Lake in the Hills and Barrington Hills.

• District 3: Voters in District 3 sided with incumbent Joe Gottemoller and newcomer Don Kopsell over two other challengers.

Gottemoller, a Crystal Lake land-use attorney elected in 2012, won the most votes with 2,952. Kopsell, former Nunda Township highway commissioner, received 2,111 votes, edging out District 47 board member and certified public accountant Nancy Gonsiorek by only 28 votes. Crystal Lake attorney Sarah Jansen came in last with 1,784 votes.

Incumbent board member Mary McClellan did not run for re-election in order to run for County Clerk – she won her race, defeating fellow County Board member Nick Provenzano.

Gottemoller and Kopsell will run in November against Democratic challenger Kathleen Bergan Schmidt, who served one term on the County Board before losing her 2012 re-election bid.

District 3 covers Nunda Township, and slivers of McHenry and Algonquin townships, including parts of Crystal Lake, McHenry, Prairie Grove, Oakwood Hills and Bull Valley.

• District 5: Michael Rein will get a rematch against Democratic incumbent Paula Yensen.

Rein, a Woodstock chiropractor, won with 2,279 votes, as did incumbent John Jung Jr., also of Woodstock, with 2,445 votes. Fired McHenry County sheriff's deputy Zane Seipler, who has gained notoriety with his lawsuits against his former employer, was a distant third with 1,056 votes.

Rein in the 2012 primary edged out the County Board's longest-serving member by only 26 votes, but lost to Yensen in November. Yensen, of Lake in the Hills, was the first Democrat to be re-elected to a second County Board term.

District 5 covers Dorr Township, central Grafton Township and one precinct of Greenwood Township, covering much of Woodstock, Lakewood and Huntley, and part of Lake in the Hills.

• District 6: Rural Woodstock incumbent Michele Aavang and challenger Larry Smith won their primaries.

Aavang, president of the McHenry County Farm Bureau, won 3,813 votes, and Smith, a rural Harvard businessman, won 3,208 votes. He beat Schuster, owner of a printing business, by 62 votes.

District 6 covers all or parts of 11 townships making up the county’s rural western half, including Harvard, Marengo, Hebron and Union.

Republican candidates in two County Board districts ran unopposed.

Newcomer Charles Wheeler, of McHenry, and incumbent John Hammerand, of Wonder Lake, won in District 4, which covers northeast McHenry County, including Richmond, Spring Grove, Johnsburg and McCullom Lake, and parts of McHenry, Wonder Lake and Bull Valley. Incumbent Sandra Fay Salgado, R-McHenry, is not seeking re-election.

Incumbents James Heisler and Donna Kurtz, both from Crystal Lake, won in District 2, which covers northwest Algonquin and far northeastern Grafton townships, including parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and Lakewood.

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