Republican Mike Nerheim defeated Democrat Chris Kennedy in the narrow race for Lake County State's Attorney by a margin of 51.03% to 48.97%. With 415 out of 415 precincts reported, including absentee and early voting ballots, Nerheim won.
Nerheim watched the results come in while surrounded by family, friends and supporters in Gurnee. "This was tough, it was the hardest thing I've ever done," Nerheim said of the campaign.
On election day, Nerheim drove a borrowed 1953 fire truck across Lake County. "I wanted to keep talking to people," he said. "This position is so important. It is one position where you can actually make a difference in people's lives."
Charles August of Wauconda was an enthusiastic Nerheim supporter.
"Mike deserves to win this," August said. "He is a man of considerable integrity and knowledge and ability. He has grown into this position. I am proud to be associated with him."
"We ran a great campaign," Kennedy said. "I got so much from so many people, and I'm extremely grateful to them. We just missed. I congratulate Mike Nerheim on a strong campaign and I wish him the best."
In his concession speech, delivered at his eleciton party at Fatman Bowl in Green Oaks, Kennedy said, "We came this close. We needed a lot of things to go right, and we didn't get the end result that we wanted...we did everything that we could control really well, and that's all because of you."
He continued to add, "Our family has been at this for 18 months. We had no idea what a nightmare it would be, but it has been made so much better because of you, and we are really thankful for the support we've gotten."
9:45:Candidate Percentage Total Vote Precincts Reporting Chris Kennedy 48.97%
131,257 415/415 (and absentee/early voting) Mike Nerheim 51.03% 136,771 415/415 (and absentee/early voting)
9:00:Candidate Percentage Total Vote Precincts Reporting Chris Kennedy 46.74% 80,650 415/415 Mike Nerheim 53.26% 91,901 415/415
8:55: Brothers Ed and Guy Abderholden came out to support Chris Kennedy tonight. Ed lives in Antioch and Guy resides in Libertyville.
Ed, an attorney himself, is supporting Kennedy because of his vast experience.
"Chris has a much broader experience than his opponent," he said. "Not only was he an assistant state's attorney and has criminal experience, but he also ran his own law firm. And thate state's attorney is the head of the state's attorney's office, which is the largest law firm in the state."
"On a personal note, I know Chris personally as a friend and he's a very nice guy," Guy said. "Very attentive and very easy to speak to. He's someone who is level-headed and smart, and is somebody that people feel comfortable talking to and bringing problems to."
GiGi Whitmore, of Beach Park, said that she supports Chris because of his work on behalf of special needs children.
"I admire that he has done so much [on behalf of special needs children] because of his daughter, and trying to implement programs for the special needs," she said.
Joe Dubaniewicz and Cathy O'Brien, both of Libertyville, both served as election judges in Green Oaks today. They came out to show their support for Kennedy.
"I've known Chris and his mother-in-law for a long time and I really respect him," O'Brien said. "Plus I wanted to watch the results with a bunch of democrats!"
8:16 p.m.Candidate Percentage Total Vote Precincts Reporting Chris Kennedy 46.80% 74,961 386/415 Mike Nerheim 53.20% 85,216 386/415
7:45 p.m.Candidate Percentage Total Vote Precincts Reporting Chris Kennedy 47.49% 59,955
305/415 Mike Nerheim 52.51% 66,305 305/415
7:35 p.m.:Candidate Percentage Total Vote Precincts Reporting Chris Kennedy 46.37% 35,708 184/415 Mike Nerheim 53.63% 41,304 184/415
7:16 p.m.: The Fatman Bowl in Green Oaks - Chris Kennedy's electon night party - is filling up as the polls across the state now close.
Chris Kennedy (D)
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Mike Nerheim (R)
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The polls closed at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6, marking the end of a tense campaign between Mike Nerheim (R) and Chris Kennedy (D) for the Lake County State's Attorney race.
Nerheim is a former assistant state’s attorney, and currently works as a criminal defense attorney in a private practice, where he handles felonies, juvenile cases and misdemeanor and traffic matters. He also is a faculty member at Columbia College of Missouri, where he teaches DNA and the laws of evidence.
Kennedy is an attorney and the owner of the Law Office of Christopher M. Kennedy, P.C.
The Lake County State’s Attorney office came under harsh criticism last year by national media – including the New York Times – when it was discovered that there were at least five wrongful convictions in Lake County in recent years.