Local Election

McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan announces run for judge, will not seek second term

By H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com
McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan
By H. Rick Bamman – hbamman@shawmedia.com McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan will not seek a second term and instead will run to fill the seat of former Judge Maureen McIntyre.

McClellan, of Holiday Hills, announced Monday afternoon in a Facebook post that she will run in the March 2018 primary to succeed McIntyre, who retired at the end of last year from the 22nd Judicial Circuit.

“It has always been my dream as a young girl to someday be a judge. It’s nice to know we can dream, but to actually achieve them as well is special,” McClellan, a lawyer, said in her announcement.

Voters elected McClellan, a Republican, in 2014 to succeed Republican Kathie Schultz, who retired after six terms in office. McClellan had served two years on the McHenry County Board before deciding on the county clerk run.

McClellan has been credited for bringing the office forward when it comes to computer technology and automation, as well as helping advance the new County Board electronic voting system that new Democratic County Board Chairman Jack Franks wanted.

She said in her news release that she had an eight-year vision for the office that she was able to accomplish in one term. Besides the technology front, McClellan also undertook a scrubbing of the county’s voter rolls, and created an electronic system by which county officials could submit their statements of economic interest.

The county clerk’s office supervises elections, records birth, death and marriage certificates, and maintains a number of other county records.

“I have brought the office into the 21st century with fresh ideas and all within budget,” McClellan said.

However, McClellan faced a rocky election halfway into her term – communications and technical issues plagued the 2016 primary to such an extent that an angry state lawmaker asked the Illinois State Board of Elections to look into it. Her office addressed the findings in the state board report, and the November 2016 election went much more smoothly.

Franks, of Marengo, lauded McClellan’s accomplishments and wished her luck. She worked with Franks and new Republican Recorder Joe Tirio on a referendum to abolish the recorder’s office. Tirio successfully ran last year on a platform to consolidate the clerk’s and recorder’s offices.

“She’s been a terrific public servant and she’s done a tremendous job with her office, and if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have electronic voting,” Franks said. “She’s had some challenges I think she’s overcome with automating her office, and I think she’d be a great judge.”

The Illinois Supreme Court promoted former Associate Judge Robert Wilbrandt to fill the remainder of McIntryre’s term.

McClellan’s decision to run for judge staves off a potential primary battle between McClellan and Tirio, who has been eyeing a run for the county clerk’s office. If voters approve the referendum that will go before voters in March, the recorder’s office will cease to exist in December 2020, making Tirio’s first term as recorder his last.

McClellan worked for the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office after law school, and then moved into private practice, where she defended civil rights cases for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and other local units of government.

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