Candidates for 16th Circuit judge, county state’s attorney, county clerk and recorder and 14th U.S. Congressional District representative each presented their case to voters at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb. The event, moderated by Sue Johnson, was sponsored by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and included meet-and-greet sessions before and after candidates took the stage.
About 130 people were in the Egyptian Theatre seats. WLBK AM 1360 broadcast the event over the radio. Many in attendance were active supporters of their candidates but several indicated they were there to make up their minds who they were voting for.
The longest applause of the evening was for Sharon Holmes who is retiring after more than 20 years of service as DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder.
She will be replaced by either Jim Luebke (D) or John Acardo (R). Both candidates are experienced campaigners. Luebke emphasized his diversity of experience while Acardo stressed his experience with budgeting and Internet development at his current position with Hanover township.
Former DeKalb County State’s Attorney, and current associate judge, Jordan Gallagher (D), sought to dispel any notion of conflict of interest should he be elected 16th Circuit Judge and his daughter get elected State’s Attorney. Gallagher cited several judges and legal experts as sources to support his position and gave examples of several instances where family members, including a husband and wife, served in similar capacities. He spoke of his extensive background as a prosecutor, defense lawyer and as a judge.
His opponent, Tom Doherty (R), touted his diverse background as his assets for the position. He spoke about several endorsements he has received including Sen. Brad Burzynski and Rep. Bob Pritchard. Doherty closed his segment by reminding voters that should he be elected Gallagher would still have his current job as an associate judge.
Those expecting fireworks in the session between Clay Campbell (R) and Sarah Gallagher-Chami (D) in the race for DeKalb County State’s Attorney were disappointed.
Chami sought to establish her family’s long ties to the community (she is in the 5th generation of Gallaghers calling DeKalb County home) as an advantage. She pointed out that from the day she took oath as an attorney she has served in her chosen career as a prosecutor. She has served as a prosecutor for the Kane County and Cook County state’s attorney office.
Campbell called upon his roots as the son of a WWII combat pilot and as a soldier himself. He offered his extensive experience as a trial attorney as his foundation for serving as an effective prosecutor. He put “gangbangers” on notice that if he is elected he will use the full might of his office to root them out of DeKalb County.
Kishwaukee College President Tom Choice spoke to the audience regarding their referendum that will appear on the ballot. If approved, $52.6 million will be spent on adding 23 classrooms and labs to the community college which has seen its enrollment more than double since 1990.