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State House: Key player in 42nd not even in race

Candidates for Republican primary Illinois House District 42 (clockwise from top right): Dave CarlChris Hage LaurPollastrini Jeanne Ives.

Candidates for the Republican primary in Illinois House District 42 (clockwise from top right): Dave Carlin, Chris Hage, Laura Pollastrini and Jeanne Ives.

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Updated: April 2, 2012 8:46AM

The most controversial name in DuPage County’s 42nd Representative District race is that of someone who isn’t even running: Dan Proft.

Proft, a hyper-conservative radio commentator and consultant who ran for governor in 2010, heads the Illinois Liberty PAC. He is backing Jeanne M. Ives of Wheaton in the four-way Republican primary for a seat in the Legislature.

At least one of the other candidates doesn’t dispute Proft’s right to support anyone he wishes, but objects to Ives campaigning as a political outsider when her campaign was launched with a big donation from an insider like Proft, who is close to Cicero Town President Larry Dominick and made nearly $1 million in fees from Cicero in 2008.

“Jeanne is hypocritically saying she is an outsider running because she’s fed up with what she is saying is going on around, when her seed money [is] a $5,000 check from Dan Proft,” candidate Dave Carlin of Naperville said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board.

Ives, 47, a West Point economics graduate who was elected to the Wheaton City Council last April, and Carlin, 36, chairman of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees since 2007, are two of the four conservative Republicans running in the district, which includes parts of West Chicago, Winfield, Wheaton, Warrenville, Lisle, Carol Stream and Naperville.

The other two are Laura M. Pollastrini, 44, of Carol Stream, a lawyer and public relations manager for Northwestern College; and Chris Hage, 39, of Wheaton, a former prosecutor and legal counsel to the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ives defends her status as an outsider.

“I’ve never worked for a politician,” said Ives, who has been a Republican precinct committeewoman since 2004. “I think there are way too many alliances within the Republican Party, and I’m coming in as a citizen legislator.”

Carlin is district director for U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), and Pollastrini and Hage also have worked for politicians. Pollastrini was a spokeswoman for former DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, and Hage worked for Birkett as a prosecutor. Pollastrini also was a legislative aide and campaign manager for former Illinois Senate President James “Pate” Philip.

Hage criticized as naive Ives’ argument that her background would make her more effective than the other candidates.

“She has no idea what goes on in Springfield,” he said. “She had never been down there for a session date until a month after she announced. She doesn’t know what’s waiting.”

Pollastrini, a former municipal prosecutor and a Carol Stream library trustee for seven years, is active in a local Tea Party group. She grew up in DuPage County, and her family owns Al & Tony’s Deli in Wheaton. She was chairman of the Wayne Township Republican Organization from 1997 to 2001.

Carlin, who grew up in Carol Stream, is a former deputy director of the Illinois Republican Party. He is former executive director of the DuPage County Republican Central Committee and former deputy executive director of the Illinois Republican Party. He is endorsed by the political arm of Taxpayers United of America.

Hage, an Eagle Scout and a graduate of the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy in Aurora, has worked on four statewide political campaigns. He works for an Oak Brook law firm, handling criminal and domestic relations cases.

Ives, who grew up in South Dakota, served in Germany during the first Gulf War. She is a senior tax adviser for H&R Block and a bookkeeper for Smith & Welk LLC.

Sun-Times columnist Rich Miller reported this week in his online newsletter that a Feb. 27 poll by Compass Consulting showed Ives favored by 10 percent of the voters; Hage with 6 percent; Pollastrini with 5 percent and Carlin with 3 percent. But 77 percent of the voters remain undecided, the poll indicated, a sign the race remains a toss-up.

Miller reported Ives started the year with $21,000 in her coffers and recently received $5,000 from Richard Uihlein, a Proft ally. Hage started the year with $56,000, Pollastrini had $11,000 and Carlin had $150, although he has raised $14,000 in large contributions since then.

Hage expects to spend $100,000, Pollastrini has budgeted $45,000 to $50,000, and Carlin expects to spend $50,000. Ives did not disclose her estimated campaign budget on the Sun-Times candidate questionnaire.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat William R. Adams of Wheaton in the fall.

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