Battle of the Sexes Takes New Turn at the Election Booth

Monday's Memorial Day parade in Crete, Ill., included two candidates in a most unusual political race.

The man and woman facing off are Democrat and Republican, a farmer and career politician, respectively.

The two are running against one another for seats on the Will County Board of Directors. But even though they appear to be complete opposites, they have one thing in common: Since Jan. 5, they have been husband and wife.

"Republican women are very heartfelt in everything they believe in," said Mary Ann Gearhart-Deutsche.

"Ohhh! Should I go to the truck and get my five-buckle boots?!" responded Lee Deutsche.

Lee and Mary Ann Deutsche are two in a field of five candidates in a contest that will reward the top three vote-getters with board seats.

"They really aren't running exactly against each other. They could both be elected," explained Jan Gould, the Will County clerk.

That's what happened in 1998, when the two political opponents ran for office and started dating too.

The romance started with a little ice cream outing to Dairy Queen. It then turned into a full-blown night out to a movie — Primary Colors, the feature film based on President Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.

Even though the two are married, from now until the November election, the Deutsches have made identical campaign pledges — no political favors.

Well, with maybe just one exception. According to Lee Deutsche, Mary Ann is an expert chocolate chip cookie baker, an art he fears she may exploit to win over voters.

"I haven't had to resort to that yet," Gearhart-Deutsche said.