Primary races in the Sauk Valley

March 17, 2018 GMT

Sauk Valley voters will see a variety of races and referenda on Tuesday’s primary ballots, including contested seats for U.S. representative, Whiteside County sheriff and Lee County treasurer.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Here’s the rundown of the main races and questions that will be decided next week.

Whiteside County sheriff

Four Republicans with decades of experience in law enforcement will be competing for a spot on the November ballot to replace Whiteside County Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi, who announced last year that he’s retiring and will not seek another term after a decade in the position.


John Booker, 51, of Rock Falls, a lieutenant with the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department, is the sole Democrat in the race.

The Republican candidates are Mike Lewis, Kris Schmidt, Tim Fisher and Clark Mortensen Jr.

Lewis, 46, of Rock Falls, is a Whiteside deputy and began at the department in 2003 after 3 years at the Lanark Police Department, and he’s also a part-time Tampico police officer.

He’s worked a variety of posts at the department, including at the jail, patrol, as courthouse security and in the civil process department.

Schmidt, a sheriff’s sergeant and 46-year-old from Morrison, started out in the U.S. Air Force’s security police in 1990, was a sergeant at the DeWitt Police Department and director of security for Ashford University in Clinton, both in Iowa. He came to the department in 2001, where he was promoted to sergeant in 2009.

Fisher, 47, of Rock Falls, has spent the past 3 years working in the behavioral health department at KSB Hospital, but most of his career was in law enforcement.

He joined the Rockton Police Department in 1993 after serving in the U.S. Army military police and then worked at the Rock Falls Police Department for 18 years where he was a patrolman, canine officer, sergeant, investigator, and certified dispatcher.

Mortensen, 47, of Erie, who served in the Illinois National Guard for 6 years as a Stinger missile crewman, was an officer for the Colona Police Department from 1992 to 2000, and has been a police officer and firefighter for Quad City International Airport for 17 years.

U.S. representative

Two Republicans and four Democrats will be on the ballot for the 16th Congressional District, which covers all of Lee, Ogle, Bureau, Boone, Grundy, Iroquois, LaSalle, Livingston, and Putnam counties, and parts of DeKalb, Ford, Stark, Will and Winnebago counties.


Incumbent Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, is going up against challenger Jim Marter, a businessman from Oswego.

The Democratic candidates are Neill Mohammad, a healthcare management consultant from DeKalb; Sara Dady, an immigration attorney from Rockford; Beth Vercolio-Osmund, a special education teacher from Ottawa; and Amy “Murri” Briel, a community activist from Joliet.

Lee County treasurer

Dixon Finance Director Paula Meyer and Lee County Chief Deputy Treasurer Melissa Lawrence, both Republicans, will be competing to fill the position of longtime Treasurer John Fritts, who announced in September that he would not be seeking a seventh term .

Meyer, 53, has been an accountant for 27 years and started her 22-year run working in government finance as Sauk’s controller in 1995. She joined the city’s ranks about 5 years ago following the $53.7 million Rita Crundwell embezzlement, leaving her job as dean of business services at Sauk Valley Community College.

Lawrence, 35, has worked in the treasurer’s office for about 13 years, became chief deputy a year ago, and has drafted the county budget the past few years.

Regional superintendent

Republicans incumbent Bob Sondgeroth and challenger Paul McMahon will compete for regional superintendent of schools in Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties.

Sondgeroth, 61, of Rock Falls, was the Whiteside County Regional Office of Education’s assistant regional superintendent for 7 years, its regional superintendent for 5 years, and superintendent of the merged Lee-Ogle-Whiteside ROE for the last 3 years.

McMahon, 57, of Manlius, was Lee-Ogle’s assistant regional superintendent for 6 years and later its regional superintendent for 2 years.


The Amboy school district is asking voters to sign off on a property tax increase to fund $15.8 million in bonds to pay for upgrades to Amboy High School, including an addition to replace the junior high school.

Taxpayers would pay an extra 86 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value, which comes to $235 more a year for a $100,000 home.

The Bureau Valley school district also has a referendum asking to issue $12 million in bonds for additions at Bureau Valley High School. The property tax rate is expected to stay the same as the district pays off its bonds from building the high school the 1990s and the tax levy drops.

The Dixon Park District is asking permission to sell up to 50 acres of the Plum Creek Arboretum. Any property bigger than 3 acres needs referendum approval for the district to sell.