Lake County State's Attorney Candidates File Nominating Petitions

First-term incumbent Democrat Eric Rinehart and Republican challenger Mary Cole are both unopposed in their respective primaries so far.

WAUKEGAN, IL — A pair of candidates to become the county's top prosecutor filed nominating petitions to run in next year's primary elections Monday at the Lake County clerk's office.

Incumbent Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart, a Highland Park Democrat, is facing a challenge from Lake Bluff Republican Mary Cole.

So far, both are unopposed in their respective parties' primaries on March 19, 2024....

Cole, 39, is a Gurnee-based attorney who, in 2021, quit her job as an assistant state's attorney in response to what she described as Rinehart's politicization of the office. She said Rinehart immediately rewarded campaign donors and special interest groups after taking office, replacing "numerous" experienced supervisors with his friends and political allies.

As of her campaign announcement in August, 83 employees of the state's attorneys office have left since Rinehart took office, 30 of whom were hired since he started on the job, according to Cole, who has also worked as a public defender in DeKalb County and as a domestic violence victims advocate in the Williamson County State's Attorney's Office.

"Gathering signatures for petitions was a wonderful opportunity to speak to residents across the county and discuss the issues they face," Cole said in a statement after filing her petitions.

"By and large, residents said they look at safety as their number one priority in Lake County; they want better safety for themselves, their children, their family members and their neighborhood," Cole said. "I am honored to have been able to garner more than three times the signatures needed to get on the ballot. Support for my campaign is growing by leaps and bounds, and we look forward to the election."


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