By Bob Balgemann


Republican stronghold Boone County remained just that Nov. 3, with voters electing seven GOP candidates to the county board while supporting Republicans running for state and national offices.

While there’s little evidence, if any, that partisan politics has a role in the way county board members conduct the people’s business, Republicans continued to have a huge majority on the county board.

Republicans filled two upcoming vacancies each in Districts 1 and 2, and three in District 3. That means 11 of the 12 board members are Republicans, with Cherie Bartelt in District 3 being the only Democrat.

Unofficially, in District 1, Republicans Jonathan Van Laar and David R. Wiltsie won with 4,196 and 4,138 votes, respectively. Trailing was a third candidate, Democrat Marilyn Spradling, who polled 1,380 votes.

District 2 seats were won by current office holder Ryan Curry, with 5,120 votes, and candidate Steve E. Schabacker, who received 5,032 votes. Democrat Kim Fisk trailed with 3,436 ballots. Curry was appointed earlier this year to replace incumbent Republican Cathy Ward, after she resigned. Earlier this year she announced that she would not seek re-election.

Victorious Republicans for full, four-year terms in District 3 were Rodney J. Riley, who garnered 3,039 votes, and Kathleen Clanin Brodhacker, with 2,688 votes. Democrat Wendy LaFauce had 2,081 votes and finished third.

Also in District 3, Republican Bill J. Robertson kept the seat he was appointed to earlier this year by defeating Democrat Freddy De La Trinidad, 3,648, or 56.91 percent, to 2,722, or 43.09 percent. This race was to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term of Republican Brad Stark, who resigned earlier this year.

Outgoing board members will attend their last meeting on Nov. 17. Their successors will take the oath of office from county Clerk and Recorder Julie Stapler in December.

Those leaving the board, six of them Republicans, are incumbents Marshall Newhouse and Denny Ellingson in District 1, Dr. Bernard O’Malley in District 2 and Carl Larsen in District 3. The other incumbents, Ward in District 2, and Stark and Democrat Jessica Muellner, both in District 3, resigned before the end of their terms.

Muellner’s resignation to become the county’s new supervisor of assessments came Oct. 21, 12 days before the election. Her name remained on the Nov. 3 ballot and she received 2,681 votes, just seven behind one of the winning Republicans, and tops among the two Democratic Party candidates.

Newhouse, Ellingson, O’Malley and Larson also decided earlier this year not to run again.

Three current countywide office holders were unopposed and re-elected. They were State’s Attorney Tricia Smith, Circuit Court Clerk Linda J. Anderson, and county Coroner Rebecca Wigget.

Back Republicans

The majority of Boone’s voters supported President Donald Trump for re-election by a margin of 13 percent. In these parts, Trump was the unofficial choice with 13,762 voters, representing 55.78 percent of the ballots cast, to 10,372 for Biden, or 42.04 percent. Trump also was favored in Boone County in 2016, when he won his first term in the White House.

Biden carried the state of Illinois and its 20 electoral states, which again went “Blue” on presidential election maps being aired on national television.

But in another election of national importance, Congress, incumbent District 16 U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., ran well ahead around here while handily winning re-election with more than 60 percent of the vote. Locally, he outdistanced his challenger, Dani Brzozowski, a Democrat, receiving an even greater 75 percent of the ballots cast, 7,762 to 2,566.

Incumbent state Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Rockford, was unopposed in District 69 and won re-election to a sixth term. First elected in 2010, he joined the State Legislature in 2011 and has been re-elected ever since. His predecessor was Ron Wait, R-Belvidere, who served for 27 years before deciding not to run again.

In District 70, incumbent state Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, won his second two-year term over challenger Paul Stoddard, a Democrat. Keicher received 2,051 votes, or 60.22 percent of those cast, to 1,355 for Stoddard. Keicher replaced Rep. Bob Pritchard, who served 15 years before deciding not to seek re-election.

Sosnowski’s district represents the vast majority of Boone County; Keicher’s district represents a sliver of the city of Belvidere, along with Bonus and Spring Townships.

A whopping 74.3 percent of Boone’s 33,455 registered voters, or 24,841, participated in this presidential election.


There were two referendums on the ballot with the following results:

  • The county board received permission to sell the Maple Crest Care Center off Squaw Prairie Road by a one-sided 14,929-7,908 margin. But should the board decide to sell it, county voters still will be required to approve the transaction.
  • Going forward, members of the North Boone Fire Protection District 3 Board of Trustees will be elected by voters in the district. In the past, expired terms were filled by the county board chairman, with the advice and consent of the full board. Final, unofficial vote was 4,406, or 86.46 percent, in favor of electing future boards, to 690, or 13.54 percent, in opposition.



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