State Rep. race in SW suburbs heats up; Keith Matune challenging incumbent Ron Sandack in 81st District primary

March 14, 2014

If anything this race has intensified. What's defining this race is the incumbent's new position on gay marriage and his challenger's decades-old arrests record the candidate calls youthful indiscretions.

"Those events happened 25 years ago when I was in college," Matune said.

When Downers Grove school board member Keith Matune decided to run for state rep, he had no idea flyers like these would arrive in his neighbors' mailboxes and a video would be posted on YouTube informing voters Matune was arrested on three separate occasions during the 1990's when he was a college student.

"I'm not going to allow Mr. Sandack and his opposition research to define who I am," said Matune. "I know who I am. My wife knows who I am. This community knows who I am."

"The nature of some of the mail has been real tough," Sandack said.

Incumbent Ron Sandack says Matune's socially conservative supporters have targeted him in mailers for switching his position on same sex marriage, while questioning his conservatism.

"I am a true fiscal conservative. I've saved taxpayer money," said Sandack.

"The point is that you promised one thing, said another, but that your vote is up to the highest bidder. And that's what people in our district really despise," Matune said.

Matune was arrested in 1991 on a fugitive warrant for writing a bad check while a student in Virginia, in 1992 for public indecency for urinating behind a building, and in 1994 for criminal trespass in a vacant building in Indiana where he finished college. The charge arising from the bad check was dismissed, he pleaded guilty to indecency and prosecutors dropped the trespassing case. He is now married with four children and works as a social studies teacher.

"He's taken everything that I've accomplished in the last 25 years and said it doesn't count for anything," said Matune.

Matune said he thought the 1990's records had been expunged. He says that's why he did not list the conviction when he applied for his teaching job.

"I answered truthfully on any application I have ever filled out. It says that if your record has been expunged or if there are no convictions, you do not have to answer so that's what I went on at the time, that's what I knew," he said.

Earlier this week when covering this story, we misreported that anti-Sandack mailers were sent out by Matune's campaign. Those mailers were sent out by various independent groups, not his campaign. We also incorrectly linked Matune's arrest for public indecency to his arrest for trespassing. Those were two separate arrests and are in no way related.

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