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La Salle County shaping up to have 2 primaries

Democratic races for state's attorney, coroner each contested

La Salle County government will have two contested primary races in March.

After making an announcement in September, former prosecutor Brian Vescogni, of Peru, made it official he's running for state's attorney as a Democrat. He will run against Mendota Attorney Todd Martin for the Democratic nomination. The winner figures to face Republican State's Attorney Karen Donnelly in the Nov. 3 general election.

Monday was the final day for county office and board candidates to file for the March 17 primary.

Along with the state's attorney's race, La Salle County coroner will feature the county's other contested primary. Rich Ploch, of Peru and a chief deputy of the coroner's office, will be contested by Lawrence Powell, of Ottawa, for the Democratic nomination. No Republicans have filed for candidacy.

In the circuit clerk's and recorder's office, it was the opposite case. Republican incumbents Greg Vaccaro, circuit clerk, and Karen Friestad Miller, recorder, were the lone candidates to file for those positions.

While parties may have no candidates running in the primary, they still may appoint someone to run following the primary and prior to June 1 for the general election.

For the County Board chairman seat, Seneca Democrat Jim Olson is running for re-election. He was appointed, then voted on by the County Board to fill the vacancy left by Jerry Hicks, D-Marseilles, when Hicks resigned last year.

Republican Donald Jensen, of Ottawa, will try again to challenge the chairman seat. In November 2016, Jensen lost to Hicks by less than 500 votes.

Despite a referendum being put on the ballot by the County Board asking to remove the auditor position, auditor's office employee Nikki Baer, D-La Salle, and Stephanie Jo Thompson, R-Sheridan, both filed for candidacy. If the referendum question is approved, no auditor will be elected and the results will be moot; however, if the referendum is defeated, the winner will be seated. Even prior to a pay case where she was found not guilty, incumbent Auditor Jody Wilkinson has said she will not run for re-election.

In County Board races, only District 24 drew more than one candidate. Randy Freeman, R-Lostant, figures to face Gerald (Gerry) Senko, D-Streator, again in the general election, as both filed for candidacy. In 2016, Freeman won with 1,035 votes to Senko's 835 votes.

Aside from Senko, Douglas L. Stockley, of Earlville, was the only other non-incumbent to file for candidacy. He will run as a Republican in the 15th District, a seat held by Steve Tuftie, R-Ottawa, who did not seek re-election.

Who else filed for County Board seats?

District 1: Curtis Faber, R-Mendota

District 4: Allen Erbrederis, R-Somonauk

District 5: Catherine Owens, R-Sandwich

District 8: Jill Bernal, D-Peru

District 11: Joseph A. Savitch, D-La Salle

District 13: David Torres, D-Oglesby

District 15: Douglas L. Stockley, R-Earlville

District 17: Lou Anne Carretto, D-Ottawa

District 18: Tom Walsh, D-Ottawa

District 23: Robert Lee, D-Seneca

District 24: Gerald J. (Gerry) Senko, D-Streator; Randy Freeman, R-Lostant

District 25: Jerry M. Myers, R-Streator

District 29: Elmer Walter, R-Grand Ridge

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