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VanVickle edges Harn in sheriff's race

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A Rochelle police officer was the successful candidate in a three-way race for Ogle County Sheriff in Tuesday's Republican primary election.

Challenger Brian VanVickle, 37, a Rochelle K-9 officer, defeated current sheriff Michael Harn, 52, Forreston, by 136 votes.

VanVickle garnered 3,470 votes to defeat Harn, who received 3,334 votes, and Joe Drought, 50, Rochelle, who received 2,821 votes.

"I'm so appreciative of all the people who stepped up and took part in this vision," VanVickle said after the votes were tallied. "It's all come to fruition."

Drought wished VanVickle well as he conceded defeat.

"It was a very close race obviously. We gave it our best shot and thought we could do some good things in the county," he said. "The voters have spoken. Congratulations to Brian VanVickle."

Harn did not answer his phone or return a phone call by 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

As the early returns came in, Harn led the race by a strong margin — sometimes as much as 400 votes.

However, the tide turned as the votes were counted from the Rochelle area.

VanVickle has served as a Rochelle police officer since 2009. Prior to that he had 13 years of management experience in the private sector.

He and his family reside in Rochelle, where he serves on the Rochelle Township High School Board.

He will likely be elected sheriff in the Nov. 4 general election since no other candidates have filed from other parties to run.

Harn was elected sheriff in 2010 after he defeated incumbent Greg Beitel in the primary.

According to state statute, Harn received enough votes to challenge the election results and ask for a recount. He has until mid-April to file a challenge.

Voter turnout was 30.87 percent, high for an off-year primary, County Clerk Rebecca Huntley said.

"I'm very, very thrilled with the turnout," she said. "It's nice the voters of Ogle County decided to have a voice in who serves as our elected officials."

Huntley, who was running unopposed for the Republican nomination for her current post, received 8,373 votes Tuesday.

County Treasurer John Coffman, who was also running unopposed, received 8,011 votes.

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