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First filings stir emotions in county board race

County board incumbent Taylor to face challenge in primary

Several races will be contested in the March 14 primary, according to nominating papers filed Monday, the first day to file. Among them will be incumbent County Board member Melisa Taylor and a challenger, insurance agent Bill Lenert, both Republicans from Sugar Grove.

Taylor, who has served three two-year terms and is seeking a four-year term, said Lenert’s candidacy was put up by County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen “because he has a problem with me as a board member.”

“Because I dig into the data and according to him, I ask too many questions,” Taylor said. “I think he’s looking for low-maintenance board members. … He is micromanaging and being a dictator.”

Lenert said Taylor’s characterization is not true.

“I had a business in Kane County for 29 years. I’ve always been interested in politics and decided to get involved,” Lenert said. “With my business experience, I thought I might be a benefit to County Board about how finances are handled.”

Lenert said Lauzen did not ask him to run with the intent of unseating Taylor.

“I spoke with Chris when I was thinking about running – as I did with many people,” Lenert said. “He encouraged me to run, as did other people. ... I have no complaints or arguments about Melisa. The first day I met her was today when we filed.”

Lauzen said Taylor’s characterization “is a fiction.”

“I love questions. I appointed Melisa to a chairmanship of an important committee,” Lauzen said. “What an unfortunate conclusion. She’s wrong ... it’s really unfortunate. Anyone who knows Bill Lenert knows he thinks for himself and makes his own decisions. We’re just fortunate people are willing to run for office.”

Taylor, a longtime Lauzen ally, helped him with his failed campaign for Congress and supported him in his state senate races, and his most recent successful run for county board chairman.

“I was a big, huge Lauzen supporter,” Taylor said. “I feel betrayed. The time and effort and energy I put into Chris Lauzen and his success – this saddens me.”

County Board member Mark Davoust filed for the Republican nomination for county clerk, seeking to unseat incumbent Jack Cunningham, who is seeking his fourth term.

“It looks like the games have begun,” said Cunningham, of Aurora. “I’m not running against Mark, I’m running on my achievements. Mark is a nice guy. He wants my job; he’s got a right to run. That is what the game is all about.”

Davoust, of St. Charles, is currently serving his third term on the County Board.

“I think that the clerk’s office has been a bit on the reactive side in light of kinds of numbers we see in voter registration, and voter turnout, more energized effort to reach out to community and school system to do just that,” Davoust said. “If you head an office that is responsible for elections in the county, that is part of the responsibility.”

The clerk’s office oversees elections in the county outside of the city of Aurora; keeps birth, death and marriage records; and calculates property tax levies for local governments, including school districts, cities and the county itself. 

Kevin Williams and Donald Kramer are vying for the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Sheriff Pat Perez, a Democrat, is not seeking another term.

William Mayes Sr. of Aurora filed papers seeking the Democratic nomination for sheriff.

Others who filed as Republicans for County Board include incumbents Phil Lewis and Barbara Wojnicki, both of St. Charles, 

State Rep. Darlene Senger, R-Naperville, filed papers to take on incumbent Bill Foster, D-Napervile, in the Nov. 4 general election.

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