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Nerheim bests Kennedy in state’s attorney race

Mike Nerheim disembarks from 1953 Howe fire truck he campaigned Tuesday. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

Mike Nerheim disembarks from the 1953 Howe fire truck he campaigned in Tuesday. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 6, 2013 10:12AM

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to have a Republican at the helm.

Mike Nerheim of Gurnee won the race with about 51 percent of the votes, according to preliminary results Tuesday night.

“I think people appreciated the positive campaign we’ve run. In the past 15 months, I haven’t said anything negative about my opponent. I’ve talked about my qualifications and my plans to take the state’s attorney’s office into the future. I think I’ve resonated with people,” Nerheim said.

Nerheim, 39, beat Democrat Chris Kennedy, 44, of Libertyville.

During the past six months, Nerheim has started to put together out-of-county retired judges and attorneys who he would like to serve as the State’s Attorney’s Case Review Panel. This panel will review old cases and convictions and develop protocols in the legal field.

Nerheim said he started this process so he “could be ready on day one to implement this” panel.

“This is a top priority of mine. It will restore our reputation and make sure we don’t have any wrongful convictions,” Nerheim said.

He is planning a community panel of civilians for advice. Nerheim is also planning to establish an alternative prosecution program that allows first-time, non-violent offenders to do public service and remain crime-free. Offenders would be flagged immediately after arrest. Victims of those crimes would get input as well.

Kennedy litigates civil law. He has led statewide efforts to pass legislation establishing laws and programs assisting people with disabilities and their families.

“I’m very proud of the race we ran and I’m very gratified by all the tremendous support I received from all kinds of people inside and outside of the county. I’m very grateful for everyone who believed in me and I want to congratulate Mike Nerheim on running a very strong race,” Kennedy said.

He said he plans to focus on his private practice.

The preliminary voting results did not include provisional or late arriving ballots, according to the county clerk’s office.

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