Six years ago, Woodstock’s Joe Tirio ran for Recorder of Deeds in a contested Republican Primary after long-time incumbent Phyllis Walters retired.
His successful campaign issue was a promise to abolish the Recorder as an elective position.
- County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill and
- Nunda Township Clerk Joni Smith, who was an employee of the Recorder’s Office who had been endorsed by Walters.
The Primary Election results were
- Tirio – 38% of the vote,
- Smith 34% and
- Hill 27%.
In his campaign for Recorder, Tirio added humor by tweaking County Clerk Mary McClellan for hiring her husband by promising not to hire his wife Karen.
Not coincidentally, if abolished, the Recorder’s duties would be folded into the County Clerk’s office.
A referendum was held the next year asking voters whether they wanted to abolish the elected official of Recorder of Deeds.
As with every other referendum, but that of the Coroner, asking voters if they want fewer elected officials (think Pat Quinn’s Cut-Back Amendment that eliminated one-third of the membership of the Illinois House of Representatives and the advisory referendum to cut the number of County Board membersd from 24 to 18), the one to eliminate the Recorder passed.
With Tirio positioned to run against McClellan for County Clerk in 2018, McClellan, an attorney, decided to run for the much higher paying position of Circuit Court Judge, instead of re-election.
Tirio was challenged for the Republican nomination by Janice Dalton, Clerk for the City of McHenry.
Dalton was endorsed by McClellan.
Tirio beat her 13,360 to10390 (56.25% to 43.75%),
This result, despite a vicious smear campaign ostensively from a Political Action Committee called The Illinois Intengrity (sic) Fund, but was traced to Tirio critic Jack Franks, who was serving as McHenry County Board Chairman.
Even though Tirio was hot running against McClellan for Clerk, he continued his memorable campaign message that he would not hire his wife.
Tirio beat his Democratic Party opponent Andrew Giorgi.
The vote was 54.6% to 45.4%.
The 2018 vote totals were 62,126 for Tirio to 51,742 for Giorgi.
Tirio declined to take salaries for the two offices which he now held.
Tirio sued numerous folks he thought connected to the smear pieces and eventually won.
The seemingly interminal hearings continued before Kane County Judge Kevin Busch, who most of the time overtly favored Franks in his rulings, until February 2021, but not until a trip to the Appeallate Court.
In 2021, after he had been defeated for re-election by Republlican Mike Buehler, Franks finally fessed up to his role in the smear postcards.
His statement reads:
“I publically acknowledge my role in he publlication of Flyers in connection with the 2018 Republican primary election through my connection with the Illinois Integrity Fund.
“I acknowledge that any implication or assertion in the Flyers that Mr. Tirio
- had a ‘secret taxpayer funded slush fund’,
- committed theft,
- used public funds for a personal ‘vacation’,
- hired cronies or
- was ‘crooked’ was false.
“I regret any reputational or professional harm the Flyers may have caused to Mr. Tirio.”
The letter was fowarded from McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio in an email entitled,
“The matter has been resolved and the parties have released their respective claims against each other.”
Financial arrangements were kept secret.
In 2022, Tirio ran unopposed in the Republican Primary.
In the General Election, he was challenged by McHenry Township Assessor Mary Mahady.
Mahady actively used her pro-abortion connections, but to not enough avail in her campaign.
Tirio made no mailings of which I am aware and neither did Mahady (perhaps to Democrats, but not to this Republican).
I’m not a Facebook person, so maybe that’s where both campaigned.
Tirio did utilize the new electronic billboards and used signs re-cycled from his 2018 campaign.
The results were Tirio 53.8%, Mahady 46.2%, 61,927 to 53,220.
This past week, Tirio was sworn in the for the second time as McHenry County Clerk bvy Judge David Gervais.