Independents vs. Republicans, One Win in Five in Last Five Months

Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison

With Jim Harrison deciding that he is going to run as an Independent in the McHenry County Sheriff’s race next year, it’s time to look at what has happened in the recent past when Independents ran against Republicans.

The most prominent was when State Rep. Mark Beaubien’s widow Dee.

In that contest, Republican David McSweeney was the Republican.

Each spent heavily to demonize the other.

Coming off a contentious three-way GOP primary, McSweeney won 58% to 41%.

Grafton Township’s most recent election had a well-publicized slate of Independents running for election against winners of the Republican Party primary election.

On the top of the ticket was Huntley Village Trustee Pam Fender facing off against Independent Jim Kearns.

Republican Fender, who won a hotly-contested three-way primary election with 39% of the vote, spent about $2,500 in the first quarter of the year. This does not include the week before the election, so more may have been spent.

Independent Kearns won by just under three-quarters of one percent (1944-1877). Kearns has not filed a report with the State Board of Elections. Such reports are required if one raises or spends over $3,000 in an election.

The third recent example also occurred in Grafton Township.

In a two-way race, Al Zielinski beat incumbent Bill Ottley 55% to 45% in the Republican Primary Election.

Zielinski spent a bit over $6,200, filing his report after the required deadline. I can find no campaign disclosure report for Ottley. [Looked again after a commenter said he could find it. The only way I could find it was by using the search word “Huntley” in the name of the town. He spent spent $2,461.21, but reports a negative balance of $461.21, something I believe the State Board does not allow. All the money came from Ottley and his wife.] No report has been filed by Jensen either, but as mentioned earlier, one is only required if the $3,000 threshold has been exceeded.

In the general election, Republican Zielinski edged out Independent Terra Jensen by 5.8 percentage points (1,998-1,774).

There was also a race against Republican nominee for Grafton Township Road Commissioner Tom Poznanski. He won the GOP Primary against Richard Dvorak by 63% to 37%. Poznanski is the Chairman of the Grafton Township Republican Central Committee.

In the April General Election, Poznanski was challenged by Independent Tim Hoeft. Poznanski won by 54-46.

Over in Nunda Township Independent Leda Drain ran against Republican Lee Jennings.

Jennings had a hot primary with three people running. One withdrew her candidacy, but too late for her name to be taken off the ballot.

Jennings barely beat Bridgette Provenzano, but Provenzano endorsed his candidacy in the General Election.

The result was that Jennings got over 57% of the vote. It was Jennings 2,614 and Drain 1,937.

So in the five most recent examples, those on the Republican Party ticket four out of five contests.

Bill Prim speaking to fund raiser crowd.

Bill Prim

Andy Zinke

Andy Zinke

If I were Harrison, I would be hoping that the GOP Primary would be so heated that the backers of Bill Prim, if Andy Zinke won the primary, would back me.

Conversely, if Prim emerged victorious, I would be hoping that Zinki’s supporters would rally around my candidacy.

That did not happen, however, in the cases of

  • McSweeney
  • Zielinski
  • Poznanski

It apparently did occur in the case of Jim Kearns victory over Pam Fender.

This is too small a sample from which to draw a conclusion, but it does indicate that when a primary contest in contentious, supporters of those who lose can rally to the campaign of an Independent.

In the case of Independent Jim Kearns’ victory, however, his Republican opponent Pam Fender was opposed by over 60% of the Republican Primary voters.


Independents vs. Republicans, One Win in Five in Last Five Months — 23 Comments

  1. Although Beaubien ran as an independent she received large sums of contributions from Democratic Majority and Democratic Party of Illinois, over $300,000 just in the period from Oct 1, 2012 thru Nov 15, 2012, not to mention additional contributions from Friends of Michael Madigan, Lou Lang, SEIU, IPACE (IEA PAC), and others, per Citizens for Dee Beaubien, ISBE Committee ID 24348,

  2. Given the qualifications of all 3 side by side. Bill Prim is the BEST choice.

    When you want to clean up a department, you do not choose anyone that has or is working there.

    Common sense should prevail.

  3. Grafton Township Assessors race: Bill Ottley’s campaign committee, Citizens for Bill Ottley, filed its Final Report with the State Board last week, and Ottley spent nearly $2,500 in his unsuccessful primary campaign.

    While the lion’s share of winner Al Zielinski’s $6,200 spend was for the primary campaign, it does look like campaign spending, along with his early February accident when Ottley broke his hip, contributed to his defeat in February.

  4. The fact that Ottley spent $400,000 of the taxpayers money to enrich his wife and daughters might have hurt his chances.

  5. I did not look for closed committees before I wrote the story. Today, I did.

    When I used the search word “Ottley,” here’s what I got:

    “There are no records available for the searched criteria.”

    However, using “Huntley” as for the town, I found it.

    He spent $2,461.21.

    Because of the negative balance of $461.21, I believe there is a problem with the report.

  6. mchenry county combine watcher, Please explain why Prim could not clean up his own department mess in Des Plaines?

    Jim Harrison is the man for the McHenry Co sheriff’s office..

  7. Far – good question – Research is a good thing. The dept had its problems. It was not his to clean up. He was not the police chief. He has not been involved or im plicated in any of the problems. The programs he ran and had control over has had good results.

    Harrison is a lawyer. He was a deputy for a short period of time. Never administrated or had oversight of the kind we need.

    EVERY police dept has had its problems. Crystal Lake just hired out of its arena.
    Harrison had strong ties to Gary Pack and its administration. Pack left in disgrace.
    Prim was named by the Illinois State Crime Commission as representative for McHenry County about a month ago. He headed drug task forces. His experience extends in many more areas.
    I have met all 3 candidates and done my research.

    Prim did not seek. He was sought for the job.

    Some endeavor to twist the facts and present mis leading information about Prim.
    So, for whatever reason, Far4, you are not looking at who is best for the position.

  8. mchenry county combine watcher – So as a commander within a department riddled with allegations, questionable conduct, allegedly falsified records to the federal government and multiple lawsuits (all facts) – is this what Prim will bring to our Sheriffs office??

    Jim Harrison currently is a lawyer with sheriff’s experience – that is respected by the community, his peers and the public serving community. You state Prim was sought for the job, doesn’t that worry you, who will he be serving? His sponsor? Or his office?? Jim Harrison wants to Raise The Bar – and clean up the current mess that exists – Jim Harrison is the right man for the McHenry Co sheriffs office and as an independent, he will be serving the office and the general public.. NOT A PARTY OR A SPONSOR!!

  9. Far -this is obviously an emotional issue with you.

    Emotional decisions are not good ones.

    Gotten too many non qualified people elected that way.

    The SO is riddles with problems yet, good people do work there.

  10. Far – as MCCW says, you are emotional.

    You are also obviously very ignorant.

    For the record ignorant doesn’t mean stupid; it means “lacking knowledge”.

    Bill Prim was a Commander assigned to the Patrol Division.

    All of the issues with the grant were handled by a manager assigned to the Support Services division.

    Prim was the first Commander, let alone officer, to be given a retirement party of any kind in over 5 years.

    This party last fall was attended by over 120 people, 95% of them from the department.

    Prim is also still in charge of all citizen volunteer programs there – asked to stay on by the new Chief.

    Last far, do you care that Harrison is a democrat who voted for Obama and who at first wanted you to think he was a Republican before switching parties, again.

    Do you also care that Harrison has been telling people in private meetings that he is sick of being a lawyer, sick of billing hourly, and “wants a 9 – 5 government job.”?

    Bother anyone?

  11. Fascinating exchange here, especially since Harrison will not even be on the ballot until November, 2014, and that is IF he can actually make it onto the ballot, and surive an expected petition challenge by whomever wins the Zinke/Prim primary in March.

    This race is really going to be fun to watch.

    But Round 1 is Zinke vs. Prim, with Zinke the decided favorite, despite Prim’s early fundraising success.

    Personally, I’m neutral in this race, but maybe a race like this will shake the Republican Party in McHenry County out of its lethargy, and maybe ALL of McHenry County’s precincts will have competitive committeemen races next March, yup, a Zinke person vs. a Prim person.

    Hopefully, both Republican combatants will be recruiting men and women to be in the party, and mobilize the precincts.

    Like I said, this will all be fun to watch.

  12. There is no need to speculate about my reasons for running as an Independent candidate for Sheriff; my reasons are clearly stated in detail on my website at Just click on the tab marked “An Independent Sheriff” and read them.

    I will not run as a Republican in name only (RINO), like so many other politicians in McHenry County have done over the years.

    I’m putting my cards on the table. For the record, I am not a Democrat, nor a Republican; I am an Independent.

    I have always voted for the person who I believed was best suited for the job, regardless of their political party affiliation.

    I encourage McHenry County voters to do the same.

    It is true that I have said many times that, if I am elected Sheriff, I would be glad that I would no longer have to record and bill people for my time spent helping them.

    What an ugly twist you have put on this statement!

    You call yourself “Truth” but your comments are a contradiction.

    I have accomplished everything I set out to accomplish as a lawyer [see my resume on my website] and I am ready for a new challenge.

    That being said, I still enjoy my work as an attorney and I look forward to putting all of my skills to work as Sheriff.

    The damage caused by the Nygren/Zinke administration has left the Sheriff’s Office with many significant challenges.

    Remember, I’ve already served 12 years as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney resolving hundreds of legal problems for the Sheriff’s Office.

    And now, more than ever, it is clear that the Sheriff’s Office needs my help again, only this time as the Sheriff.

    And whatever your problem is with Gary Pack, take it up with Gary Pack.

    McHenry County incurred no liability as a result of my 20-years of public service in the Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office, and my work as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney provably saved McHenry County millions of dollars.

    And for the record, the Sheriff’s job is a 24/7 job; Nygren is just a poor example.

    I am fortunate that my profession allows me the option of continuing to hone my skills practicing law, or to apply my skills to a different endeavor – like the Sheriff’s Office.

    What I am sick of is the politics behind the Sheriff’s elections.

    I am sick of politicians who want the title without the work, who want the power without the responsibility, and who want to control without accountability.

    The party’s over.

    It’s time to raise the bar.

    (Sorry so long Cal).

  13. Truth,

    So by your definition you are claiming as a Commander within the Des Plaines Police Department, Prim was simply ignorant?

    Ignorant to the fact his Department was getting grant funding for the Patrol Division claiming to have given out many more DUI’s than they had?

    Didn’t I read that they got grant fund for claiming a large DUI number in a year they only gave out one?

    How does the Commander of Patrol not know how many DUI’s his team gave out?

    I guess as his supporter you are claiming he was simply ignorant on the issue, but I am not sure?

  14. Prim really should consider denouncing some of what has been reported about corruption and abuse at his former command to get out in front of it.

    Although it is very early in the cycle now, I would certainly expect coverage about these issues as the race draws near.

  15. As a patrol commander, Prim was not responsible for the administration and the statistical performances of the grant; they were managed by the Support Services Division- a division separate from the Patrol Division. T

    here was NEVER any question in the patrol division or accusations regarding the inflation of DUI arrests.

  16. Didn’t his department get public grants for greatly inflated dui numbers?

    If for instance your department gets very public grants for writing large numbers of dui’s and as the commander of the patrol division you know the officers under your command only say gave out one single dui in a specific year…wouldn’t that jump out at you?

    Assuming you weren’t ignorant or willfully looking the other way? At best that would be ignorant, right?

    I get that some of the big money and special interests want to handpick a guy for this role, but copying what has gone on in Des Plaines for the past few years seems like they are really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  17. butseriouslynow:

    Again, the Patrol Division statistics were never in question or challenged nor were they utilized for obtaining the grants. The inflated numbers were related solely for special enforcement which was supervised and managed by another individual in a different division.

    (By the way, the Patrol Division wrote a SIGNIFICANT number of DUIs. Some individuals from the Patrol Division were actually recognized for their diligent enforcement of DUIs.)

  18. There seems to be an interesting pattern from the Prim crowd.

    It seems they want Zinke as a commander in the Sheriff’s department to be responsible for every little rumor linked to anyone in the department, but want us all to believe their guy walked around for years with blinders on.

    So i guess the line is he was a very engaged commander who just didn’t know about a lot of stuff?

    I guess the funny thing is how he came out of the gates throwing the “guilt by association” mud at Zinke but now wants to be held to a different standard.

    I actually hope the Prim/Zinke campaign involves some actual policy proposals and management strategy discussions at some point.

    However to date all we have is some a continuation of those with personal axes to grind against the outgoing Sheriff and petty political posturing.

  19. ATSerious – you are obviously very ignorant too. Mr. Zinke is the “Undersheriff”.

    He is in charge of the ENTIRE Sheriff’s office when the sheriff is not there – which is the majority of the time.


  20. I get so confused, you guys are really unclear about who you support.

    Just kidding … I am sure your candidate (insert name here _________) is a great guy who will make a great sheriff, until he doesn’t then we need another one.

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