CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s election day in many Chicago suburbs.
And one of the hottest mayoral races is in Bolingbrook, where republican Roger Claar is facing his strongest challenge in years, triggered by his support for President Donald Trump.
Claar has served as Bolingbrook’s Mayor for three decades, and he’s running for re-election on his record of development.
“Voters, I think for the most part, look at a 31-year record,” Claar said. “They see how Bolingbrook’s changed over that 31 years. They see the jobs, the industrial, the retail, the housing variety styles we have now — and I think they’re really happy with that. I’ve had some say, ”I’ll forgive you for what you did last September.'”
Last September, Claar invited the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, who he supports, to a fundraiser at the village-owned Bolingbrook Golf Club.
Democratic mayoral candidate Jackie Traynere is one voter who hasn’t forgiven Claar.
“We went and petitioned the Mayor with 1,100 signatures and we asked him not to invite Donald Trump here [Bolingbrook]. We didn’t feel his message of hate was in step with the community,” Traynere said.
A community that voted 66 percent for Hillary Clinton.
Still, Claar says he does not regret the Trump invitation, despite the fundraiser now being considered controversial.
“If Hillary Clinton would have come, we’d have done the same thing. If Bernie Sanders would have come, we’d do the same thing. We’ve had Ronald Reagan here in past years, Senator Barack Obama was at our club, not President, but Senator.”
But opponents say the golf club’s building itself is an issue, claiming it’s an example of how Claar’s big spending doesn’t fit Bolingbrook.
“Smaller government, lower salaries, living within our means and term limits. Term limits. 31 years — that’s a long time for someone to be mayor,” Traynere said.
Traynere is currently a Will County board member. She’s enlisted some heavy-weight, democratic support from Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Bill Miller among others.
Bolingbrook is a highly diverse community. It’s 50 percent minority, with a large amount of African American, Hispanic and Asian voters.