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Quirky Election Includes Township Flip, 1-Vote Victory, Carreiro Vindication, Moffat 1-for-2

Morning-After Pill: What actually happened last night?

It's time to play Wednesday-morning quarterback and take a look at the various election results—for the sake of reasoned political analysis and just for the fun of it.

Status Mostly Quo

In the higher-profile April 9 elections—mayor, School Board, 1st Ward alderman, Library Board and Park Board—voters for the most part sent metaphorical Facebook likes to the incumbents.

  • Burns topped McQuillan for mayor.
  • Both incumbents plus a former School Board member won three of four seats on the School District 304 Board of Education.
  • Library Board incumbents Esther Barclay-Steel and Steven Andersson were the 1-2 vote-earners, respectively. For the third open spot, however, voters chose Mark Adams—who opposes the library's move to the Cetron location—over three other candidates, including incumbent David Creighton.
  • For Park Board, incumbent Margaret "Peggy" Condon was the runaway favorite. The race for a second seat was between two challengers, and Jay Moffat edged Matt Gauntt. (But more on that later.)
  • Mike Bruno wasn't the incumbent 1st Ward candidate but he was the more seasoned and traditional choice against youthful firebrand Zac Ploppert.

Township Flip

This might be a rash over-simplification, but township government often is about who's in with the (good-old-boy) in-crowd. That wasn't the case in a couple instances in this election.

  • Challenger Mike Abts defeated incumbent highway commissioner Mark Wissing by a fairly substantial margin (500 votes is "substantial" in this race) after calling out some of Wissing's spending and accounting practices.
  • One Township Board incumbent, Robert Kovacs, was edged out of his chair by Scott Queen. (More on this further down the page.)
  • And totally non-incumbent township clerk write-in candidate Geoffrey Carreiro won the office in dramatic fashion with a 1-vote margin over fellow challenger Debbie Draus and former trustee John Carlson. (Which leads to ... )

Voters Didn't Like the Carreiro Petition Challenge

This probably should have been the lead and its own, standalone story. Carreiro was all set with his petition to be the only candidate on the ballot for township clerk—but hold on there, young man. The in-crowd apparently didn't like the idea, and Robert Kovacs successfully challenged Carreiro's petition—basically saying the good-old-board would rather hand-pick a replacement because they don't trust voters to do so.

That kind of backfired, however, when voters supported Carreiro's write-in and turned away from Kovacs at the polls.

1-Vote Victory? Really?

And yes, that really should have been the lead. A one-vote win in unique in and of itself, but the politics of this race were nuanced and interesting, as well. Carlson probably was the favorite of the old guard, but he was a distant (in this race, 50 votes is "distant") third. The second-place finisher was Debbie Draus, who is an employee of Geneva developer Joe Stanton but was not a township insider by old-school standards.

No word yet as to whether the one-vote win will be challenged.

Let's Play Two Today!

Jay Moffat wanted to run for four seats, narrowed it to two and won one. He didn't make the Library Board but will serve on the Park Board ... barring any further review. :)

Turnout—How Low Can You Go?

The highest vote count was in the race for mayor, where about 3,500 separate votes were cast. In the 1st Ward race, 370 total votes was enough to ensure a win.

Quick Question ...

How many people do you suppose voted for Richard "Shorty" Dickson for a Waubonsee Community College Board seat simply because his nickname is "Shorty"?

Status Was Not so Quo in St. Charles, Batavia

Some big changes are coming in Batavia city government. Three incumbents got knocked off by challengers. "Mayor for Life" Jeff Schielke was unopposed, but it might have been interesting to see what would have happened if he had been challenged. Maybe Batavians felt Schielke's return to office gave them a comfort zone and free ticket to elect newcomers?

In St. Charles, Ray Rogina was the easy winner among four candidates. He also was a City Council member and probably would have won the "Most Likely to Succeed Don DeWitte Award" from his high school graduating class. But several former aldermen beat incumbents in St. Charles, so it certainly wasn't a case in which present board members were shoo-ins.

From St. Charles Patch:

John R April 12, 2013 at 02:10 AM
@ Thomas, thank you! I've enjoyed that you have also put yourself out there. I think a lot of people don't post because it can get a bit testy. Your right we don't know why so many don't vote in local elections. The turnout is really dismal. I think we need to somehow figure out a way to get more people running. Way to many positions running unopposed. PAC's are getting involved on a partisan basis. I would love to organize a local community PAC which would contribute a set amount to anyone that ran for a local position. I think that would possible help encourage participation. I agree that every single McQuillan supporter or TaxFact fan did vote on Tuesday. So they got 1401 votes of approval. It was actually a bit more than I expected. I was thinking that it may be less than 1,000. 1401 isn't bad but considering the strength of Bob's campaign it really isn't that good either. I don't know I really enjoy local politics. The local stuff really does matter and our involvement does count. Carriero won by one vote and kovacs lost his trustee position. That's really cool stuff. Bob running for Mayor and not the school board. Moffatt mixing it up and running for three boards, etc.....It doesn't get much better. Look me up sometime I'd love to get a cup of coffee with you. My best, John Rice
John R April 12, 2013 at 02:18 AM
Angela, Take one of the blue pills and get a good nights sleep. John
Angela Kane April 12, 2013 at 02:32 AM
John R: you are a condescending juvenile. Grow up and look around. Our country is sinking into oblivion because too many people refuse to speak up, to yell. We are swimming in debt and our rights are being eroded by bullies who need to control the dissenters. Nope, not going to sit back and allow bullies like you to tell me to chill, shut up or other such tripe. Again, democracy is messy, and we all need to be a part of it. So John--I'm still here. Deal with it. People like Bob and me and others like us will be alert, voting, running for office and participating in our messy democracy.
Terry Flanagan April 12, 2013 at 03:41 AM
I think that Thomas is right in that we cannot know why 77% of eligible voters did not vote. Logically, we can't assume that it was because they are satisfied because conversely we would have to assume that people only vote when they are dissatisfied. In that case incumbents would never be re-elected. The only thing we can be certain of is how the people felt that did vote. And there we have a 60-40 split in the mayor's race. Both candidates said that in canvassing door to door, voters were very concerned about taxes. Zac Ploppert got the same message from voters he spoke with in the First Ward and promised never to vote to raise taxes, while his opponent Mike Bruno would not make the same campaign pledge. However, Zac's promise was not enough to get him elected. Perhaps we can assume that with the city's tax share being approximately 8%, that taxes were not as important an issue in city races. Sorry, John, but I don't think we can assume that people who don't vote are satisfied. They are merely apathetic for whatever reason. If people were that satisfied wouldn't they feel the need to vote rather than risk losing the status quo at the voting booth?
John R April 12, 2013 at 02:21 PM
@ Angela, I wish you the best. You are very passionate regarding your fears and beliefs. It's unfortunate that you aren't able to channel that passion and energy in a more positive direction. I'm going to take your suggestion and call Mike Fortner's office. We really need to get our State Reps working for us. This state is a mess and if it goes under we are locally in big trouble. Anyways, it is not a productive use of my time to continue to go back and forth with you on this thread. @ Terry, yes it was a 60 - 40 split which as I've said isn't bad for Bob. I give him credit for getting out there but.....it was still only 39%. Not a mandate in my mind. The people have spoken time to let our elected officials get to work. Don't apologize regarding my belief that the 77% who didn't vote are satisfied. I realize it's a bit of a stretch. As far as I'm concerned the 77% have checked out and have forfeited the right to complain and gripe. Local elections matter and they could have swayed the results if they felt compelled or inspired enough to vote. They weren't inspired or compelled. The Bruno/Ploppert race was a breath of fresh air. I think they both ran good campaigns with very contrasting messages. Despite the efforts of Jeff Ward to pull them into the gutter they did not take the bait. It would have been good if more of the Alderman seats had been contested. That might have inspired more to vote. Rice

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