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Schaumburg: Unusual tone from sheriff's candidate

Published: Sunday, July 6, 2014 12:12 a.m. CDT

I read last week one of the more refreshing quotes I’ve seen in a long time regarding politics.

It came from Bill Prim, Republican candidate for McHenry County sheriff, about challenging the petition signatures of independent candidate Jim Harrison.

Said Prim: “We took a cursory look; we didn’t see anything that would warrant circumventing the electoral process or denying voters the right to have an election.”

Now, this thought could be parsed a million different ways, and, since this is politics, should be consumed with some cynicism. But I’m going to give Prim the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Harrison, a Woodstock-based attorney and former sheriff’s deputy filed about 9,500 signatures last month to get his name on the ballot for sheriff in November’s general election. He will face Prim, a retired Des Plaines police commander who beat Undersheriff Andrew Zinke in the March Republican primary. Anybody, including Prim, could have challenged the validity of the signatures Harrison submitted. Without enough valid signatures, Harrison couldn’t appear on the ballot.

We are so used to people who are running for office doing whatever they can to obstruct other candidates or deny voters a choice in elections that when Prim decides to just let it be and welcomes an election, we are taken aback.

Having a choice in local partisan elections is a rarity in McHenry County as the Democrats continue to try and gain a foothold in these parts. In most instances, as we saw in March, the election for local partisan offices is the Republican primary.

I doubt the campaign for sheriff will be as hotly contested as the Republican primary for sheriff, where you had the handpicked successor for the longtime retiring sheriff who was at odds with the state’s attorney against the outsider who had the support of the state’s attorney.

Nonetheless, voters will have a choice in the general election, which is refreshing these days in McHenry County politics.

• • •

So how does money stack up in the sheriff’s race? Well, July 15 is the campaign disclosure quarterly report deadline. As of Thursday, neither Prim nor Harrison’s second quarter report had been published on the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

After the first quarter and the tough Republican primary, Prim had depleted his war chest to $1,290.30. Harrison had $17,310.94 after the first quarter.

Although we do not yet know how much each candidate raised in the second quarter, we do know how many donations of $1,000 or more were given to each candidate during the quarter since those donations are required to be disclosed immediately.

Prim had one such donation – $5,000 from the Stephens Political Action Committee based in, you guessed it, Rosemont.

Harrison also received one donation of $1,000 or more in the second quarter. It was for $2,000 from Carole Stickle of Katy, Texas.

Should be interesting to see the totals once second quarter numbers are made available.

• Jason Schaumburg is the editor of the Northwest Herald. He is experiencing hockey withdrawal. Reach him at 815-459-4122 or via email at jschaumburg@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Schaumy.

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