Will County no closer to a Republican candidate for sheriff
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com April 1, 2014 3:56PM
Republican candidate for sheriff Nick Ficarello, left, and attorney Scott Erdman await the results of provisional and absentee ballot counts in Will County on April 1.
Updated: April 1, 2014 4:06PM
The two Republican candidates for Will County sheriff stood on opposite sides of the room, separated by just over 200 votes.
For more than two hours Tuesday morning, 10 teams of election judges counted and verified 135 provisional and more than 250 absentee ballots.
In the end, candidate Ken Kaupas — who had a small lead — gained one more vote over opponent Nick Ficarello.
The results were nearly evenly split between the two, further demonstrating the closeness of this two-way race for the Republican nomination for sheriff.
Vote totals remain unofficial until April 8 when the votes will be canvassed and the totals from the Will County precincts in the Aurora Election Commission will be factored in, Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots said.
Unofficial totals now show Kaupas with 20,521 votes and Ficarello with 20,297 votes.
The provisional ballots, in which the voter registration needed clarification, gave 32 votes to Kaupas and 31 to Ficarello. The valid absentee ballots gave them exactly 101 votes apiece.
“I am obviously very pleased with today’s results, but I’m not surprised,” Kaupas said. “It’s really remarkable to go through all this and pick up one vote. It was a very, very tough race. Neither of us expected it to be this close.”
Although the totals do not include a handful of Aurora precincts, Kaupas said he seriously doubted those votes would make a difference.
“It’s mathematically improbable,” he said.
But Ficarello still was not conceding the race, despite the latest numbers.
“I have some decisions to make,” he said quietly, adding that he would consult with his attorney and his campaign staff.
Those options include seeking a recount or running as an independent candidate in the fall.
Kaupas said his goal heading into the November general election when he will face his Democratic opponent Mike Kelley will be to “rally the Republicans.”
He said would “certainly” welcome Ficarello’s support.
He said the two shared a look across the tables as the ballot totals were announced.
“It was a look of no surprise,” Kaupas said.
For now, Kaupas and Kelley still have to work together in the sheriff’s department where Kelley is a lieutenant and Kaupas is deputy chief.
“I take off my political hat when I come to work,” he said, adding that he believes they can both put politics aside and “continue to do our jobs.”