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Lake County sheriff switching political parties
By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran

 

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Published: 12/12/2008 11:51 AM | Updated: 12/12/2008 4:09 PM

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Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran says he's bolting from the Democratic Party to join the Republicans.

State and local GOP leaders are expected to accompany Curran when he makes his formal announcement at a news conference Monday. He declined Friday to elaborate about his reasons for leaving the Democrats.

"I'll reserve comment until (Monday)," Curran said.

Curran backed Republican Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller over Democrat Michael Jacobs in the November election. Waller beat Jacobs, who was deemed unqualified by Curran.

Lake County Republican Chairman Daniel Venturi said Curran has the party's full backing as he makes the jump.

Venturi said Curran, 45, will join a relatively youthful GOP roster that includes U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk of Highland Park, state representative-elect Daniel Duffy of Lake Barrington and state Rep. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein.

Venturi said Curran will have a bright political future representing the Republicans in Lake County.

"I think Mark Curran has the qualifications and potential to go as far as he wants to go," Venturi said.

Lake County Democratic Party Chairman Terry Link, a state senator from Waukegan, declined to comment about Curran's move until the expected details emerge Monday. Link said Curran had not contacted him as of Friday.

State Sen. Michael Bond of Grayslake, who's first vice chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said he'd like to hear from Curran if the Democrats let him down in any way.

"Obviously, this is a problem," Bond said. "We need to find out what Mark is thinking, and I'll wait for his statement."

Curran has achieved a high profile regionally, most recently for a strongly worded letter he sent asking that President Bush deny a request to release former Gov. George Ryan from prison early. Curran also received much attention for living in the Lake County jail for a week this year to determine what conditions are like for prisoners.

Veteran Republican Lake County sheriff Gary Del Re was toppled by Curran in 2006. Curran's previous jobs were as a Lake County assistant's state's attorney and an Illinois assistant attorney general.

Link provided more than $2,200 from his campaign fund to help Curran in the 2006 election. Illinois Tenth Congressional District Democrats and Lake County Democratic Women were other money sources for Curran.