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Lake Forest's Neerhof Challenges Incumbent State Rep. May

Friedman makes it official as candidate for state Senate.

for the Republican nomination to succeed , on Monday night, Dr. Mark Neerhof of Lake Forest had an announcement of his own.

The 52-year-old stunned the gathering by telling them he was seeking the Republican nomination to oppose . This will be Neerhof’s first run for public office.

“Obamacare will take us down financially and it will take down the medical system,” Neerhof said at a gathering of more than 60 people at a restaurant in Highland Park’s Ravinia neighborhood.

His desire to reform Medicaid is a central part of his platform. “Medicaid is the leading budget item in Illinois," he said.

May reiterated her intention to run for re-election to Patch on Monday. She was not surprised by Neerhof’s announcement.

“This is part of the political process,” she said. “We’ll run the same competitive campaign we always do.” 

Friedman Targets Democrats

Monday’s event was supposed to be a fundraiser for the Doctors and Patients Alliance of Illinois, a political action committee Friedman formed last month.

Friedman criticized the current Democratic-controlled government in Springfield for what he called Illinois’ failings as a state. 

“They (the Democrats) want bigger government, higher taxes and less economic freedom,” Friedman said. “States that have failed have pursued that policy. Those who have succeeded have taken another route.” 

“We have to create a business friendly environment, repeal the tax increase hand in hand with cutting spending,” he added. 

Friedman, 45, is the only announced Republican candidate. He's a Highland Park native who served as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Navy before becoming a pediatrician. He is married with five children.

He ran for the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional District seat in 2010 and lost in the primary to now .

is the sole Democratic contender. Township High School District 113 Board Member Annette Lidawer told Patch Monday she would not run.

The primary will be March 20 with the general election in November 2012. 

Morrison has not taken a position on the tax increase or its repeal. “I want to study it more,” she said. “I want to see what effect it will have and what effect repeal would have.”

Garrett voted against the tax increase and  supported it. 

Excitement From Supporters

The room was filled with other candidates and political activists who were thrilled with Friedman’s decision. was there to support Friedman and meet Highland Park residents. 

Moraine Township Republican Chairman Lou Atsaves of Lake Forest was thrilled not only with Friedman’s announcement, but also that he has been a local party activist. 

“I’m excited because Arie Friedman is one of our precinct committeemen,” he said.

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