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Ogle County state's attorney loses in GOP primary

Rock promises smooth transition

Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:22 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:17 a.m. CDT
Eric Morrow
Mike Rock

OREGON – Mike Rock, appointed last year as Ogle County’s state’s attorney, failed to get the voters’ stamp of approval Tuesday.

In the Republican primary, Oregon attorney Eric Morrow beat Rock, getting 4,925 votes (53 percent) to Rock’s 4,448 (47 percent).

“The people of Ogle County have spoken,” Rock said in a telephone interview. “I’ll make sure to work with Eric to have a smooth transition.”

Morrow said he looked forward to serving the people of Ogle County.

“If elected (in November), I would like to work with Mike Rock and the staff to ensure a smooth transition,” Morrow said.

The new term starts Dec. 1.

No Democrat is running for state’s attorney, though the party could select a candidate to run in the November general election, a highly unlikely prospect in this solid Republican county. No Democrat ran in 2010.

In January 2013, the Ogle County Board unanimously voted for Rock to replace State’s Attorney Ben Roe, who had been named a judge in the 15th Judicial Circuit. Rock was among four candidates, including Morrow, who were interviewed by a County Board selection committee.

Rock, 48, had been the first assistant state’s attorney under Roe since 2010 and was a prosecutor for the office from 1994 to 2000. He later was in private practice in Rockford for 10 years until he returned as a prosecutor.

Rock, a Byron resident, received much support for his re-election from County Board members, who praised him for keeping control of his budget.

However, Morrow, 38, said during the campaign that he had seen a breakdown in communication between the state’s attorney’s office and other parts of the judicial system since Rock took office. He also said the office had reduced its dealings with victims of crimes to form letters, sometimes delivered unsealed.

Rock disagreed, saying his office seeks victims’ input and sends them letters detailing what’s happening with their cases.

Rock said one of his biggest duties is to keep drugs out of Ogle County. Stiff sentences for drug dealers, he said, send a message to those outside the county who bring in drugs.

Both candidates touted their support for the Second Amendment.

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