FINAL: Lauzen Takes County Board Chair GOP Primary
State Sen. Chris Lauzen easily defeats Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns in the race for the Republican nomination for Kane County Board chairman.
The donnybrook primary campaign between a state senator and a Kane County mayor is over.
With all precincts reporting, state Sen. Chris Lauzen on Tuesday won the GOP nomination for Kane County Board chairman with about 70 percent of the vote. The unofficial totals had 25,953 ballots cast for Lauzen over 11,424 for Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns.
As expected, Lauzen did well in his Aurora stomping grounds, leading Burns 3,659 to 872.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think this was supposed to happen, was
it?" Lauzen told his supporters at Alley 64 in St. Charles on Tuesday. "I mean, they had all the newspapers. We had the people. They had Pat Brady. We had the Three Amigos. They had the Establishment Insiders. We had the reform from the Grassroots. So congratulations on your victory tonight.”
Lauzen versus Burns was perhaps the most interesting race on the local election card. Lauzen took the lead out of the gate, with name recognition and a formidable group of supporters, including his campaign committee chair, former state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, and endorsements from Congressman Randy Hultgren and former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.
Burns started the race with a strong Tri-Cities base and a message that his campaign chair would be state Republican Chairman Pat Brady, and has come on in recent weeks with an endorsement sweep from three newspapers.
The race became quite contentious at times, with Burns accusing Lauzen of misrepresenting facts and then Burns' gaff of using his city e-mail to respond to candidate-related messages made public.
Burns congratulated Lauzen on his win and thanked his supporters at a gathering at Old Towne Pub in Geneva.
Burns said he intended to call Lauzen. In an interview with a Patch reporter at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Lauzen said he didn't know yet if Burns had called.
"While I wish the night would have been a more celebratory night … I have the joy of returning full time as the mayor of Geneva. I’m blessed with three daughters, and I have a lot to look forward to," Burns said.
In the end, election night was never a close contest.
|Precincts Reporting||228 of 228||71 of 71|
Lauzen Looks to Future
With the Republican nomination in hand, Lauzen will prepare for a race against Sue Klinkhamer. Klinkhamer emerged the victor through an unusual "anti-campaign" over Bill Sarto.
During his campaign, Lauzen stressed three issues from Day One: freezing the property tax levy, "honest, competent administration through innovation and austerity" and "restoring trust in public service."
Lauzen repeatedly underlined that "cultural cronyism" is part of the Karen McConnaughay administration and requires change.
"I think that the people demonstrated what is important to them, and we take that same message of what we promise to work on and do into the general
election," Lauzen told Patch on Tuesday. "It’s really a message that I think appeals to Republicans, Democrats and Independents. It’s everybody."
Burns Back on Geneva
Burns called the last eight months of his life in the County Board chair campaign "an extraordinary experience."
He had little to say about the controversies that arose in the campaign, calling it all water under the bridge. He is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life and continue to focus on initiatives in Geneva.
"I want to preserve what makes Geneva unique," Burns told Patch. "A strong downtown, a vibrant Randall Road corridor and neighborhoods."
Burns' priorities include continuing to work with the task force that current County Board Chair McConnaughay appointed for the redevelopment of Settler's Hill and the former Kane County Jail site north of Fabyan Parkway.
Burns wants to annex the Kane County Judicial Center into Geneva. He also wants to make sure that the grade separation at Route 38 and Kautz Road is completed.
Burns said he is ready to work with whoever ends up in the County Board chair seat.
"As I have always done, I work with leaders at every level ... to make sure our quality of life is strong," he said.