DIXON – Lee County Board member Vern Gottel, R-rural Sterling, pushed for the county to hire an administrator, which it has never done. Many of his colleagues rejected the idea.
Gottel, who was appointed in 2011 and won the seat in his own right in 2012, is one of the few incumbents in Whiteside and Lee counties who decided against seeking re-election.
Monday was the deadline for candidates to file paperwork for the Republican and Democratic primaries in March. The general election will be in November.
Gottel, a former Sterling official, often argued that an administrator would improve communication and bring more revenue into the county.
“I don’t feel that my ideas and initiatives are having much impact,” he said in a statement Monday. “I have discussed this with my wife and with friends and have decided to invest my time where it will have the most impact.”
He said he planned to finish his term as supervisor of Palmyra Township.
Of the 13 incumbents on the Lee County Board whose seats will be on the 2014 ballot, 10 are running again.
The others bowing out are Republicans Dick Binder of Compton and Ryan Marshall of Dixon. Binder said he was leaving for personal reasons, while Marshall, who was appointed to his seat this year, said he needs to focus on his business.
On the Whiteside County Board, all but two of the 13 incumbents up for election are running again.
Tony Arduini, 92, revealed last month that he was leaving the board after nearly 50 years – two decades of which he served as chairman. The Rock Falls Democrat has suffered health problems in the past couple of years.
Sarah McNeill, D-Sterling, who started in 1996, is the other incumbent who is not seeking re-election. The retired X-ray technician said she and her husband have put their house up for sale and plan to move to South Carolina.
In Lee County, two Republicans have entered the sheriff’s race – incumbent John Varga and John Simonton, who is a current Dixon police officer and retired state police lieutenant. This is the only contested primary race for a countywide office in Lee and Whiteside counties.
For treasurer, incumbent John Fritts, who has been in office for two decades, has filed as a Republican, and Lee County Board member Wes Morrissey, D-Amboy, is running as a Democrat. Morrissey promised to increase the county’s interest income if elected, while Fritts contends the county has done the best it can with its investments, under the economic circumstances.
Lee County Clerk Cathy Myers, a Republican, is running unopposed.
In Whiteside County, Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi, Treasurer Darlene Hook and Clerk Dana Nelson have no opponents. They are Republicans.
After the primaries, political parties will have the chance to fill vacancies on their ballots.
In the running
Here's who has filed for public offices in Whiteside and Lee counties:
• John Varga, R (i)
• John Simonton, R
• John Fritts, R (i)
• Wes Morrissey, D
• Cathy Myers, R (i)
District 1 (3 seats)
• David Gusse, R-Dixon (i)
• Marilyn Shippert, R-Dixon (i)
• Cory Zimmerly, D-Amboy
District 2 (3 seats)
• Gerald Leffelman, R-Sublette (i)
• Allyn Buhrow, R-Ashton (i)
• Lisa Zeimetz, R-Paw Paw
District 3 (3 seats)
• Doug Farster, R-Dixon (i)
• Isaac Mercer, D-Dixon (i)
• Tom Kitson, R-Dixon (i)
District 4 (4 seats)
• Jim Wentling, R-Dixon (i)
• Bill Palen, R-Dixon (i)
• Marvin Williams, R-Dixon (i)
• Michael Ortiz, D-Dixon
• Joe Patzer, R-Dixon (i)
• Kelly Wilhelmi, R (i)
• Darlene Hook, R (i)
• Dana Nelson, R (i)
District 1 (4 seats)
• Kurt Glazier, R-Sterling (i)
• James Jaeger, D-Sterling
• Ruth Stanley, R-Sterling (i)
• Shane Celestino, R-Sterling
• Robert Bradley, D-Sterling (i)
District 2 (5 seats)
• Paul Cunniff, D-Rock Falls (i)
• Kathie Donahue, R-Sterling
• Bill Milby, D-Rock Falls (i)
• Linda Pennell, R-Rock Falls
• Glenn Truesdell, D-Rock Falls (i)
• Katherine Nelson, D-Rock Falls
• Doug Wetzell, R-Deer Grove (i)
• Rick Cavazos, D-Rock Falls
District 3 (4 seats)
• Sue Britt, D-Morrison (i)
• Kurt Dreger, D-Fulton
• Martin Koster, R-Morrison (i)
• Daniel Bitler, D-Albany (i)
• Glenn Frank, R-Morrison (i)
i – incumbent