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Kane Democrats likely to seek candidate to run against Cunningham

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:29 p.m. CST

A Kane County Democratic offical said the party likely will slate a candidate to run against incumbent Republican Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham in the Nov. 4 general election, capitalizing on recent issues in the clerk's office.

Cunningham will be seeking his fourth term in November.

Mark Guethle, chairman of the Kane County Democratic Central Committee, said the organization has a committee working on slating candidates for the clerk's race as well as others.

"We have until June 2," Guethle said. "We are trying to get candidates."

Cunningham and a deputy clerk had used the county's computers and Internet servers to do campaign-related business during the work day. That, as well as a severance package of more than $11,000 for that deputy clerk, whose position was eliminated, could be issues in the election, Guethle said.

"The campaign slogan could be, 'I'm not Jack Cunningham,'" Guethle said, laughing.

Cunningham said he made a mistake and was wrong to send campaign emails on the county server, but he said he would not resign over it. Local Republicans said there is no movement to ask Cunningham to step down over the incident. 

"Jack admitted he has made a mistake," said Thomas Hartwell, the new party chairman for Kane County Republicans. Hartwell is the Kane County circuit clerk.

"It is definitely inappropriate for him to do campaign work while on county time and using county property – that is very, very clear," Hartwell said. "Jack is the incumbent and our nominee, and it's his decision what he's going to do with it. The party selected him at this time. The people voted."

Hartwell said the party never wants to see inappropriate behavior among its Republican elected officials, but there is no mechanism to ask a candidate to step down.

"Has he been asked to step down? No. Has it been discussed? No," Hartwell said. "Nobody has come to me to say Jack is a liability and needs to step down. ... The last thing anyone wants is an overreaction. Jack admitted he's wrong. As chairman, I can't say, 'Jack you're done.'"

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