CHICAGO (CBS) — Facing a legitimate challenger for the first time in 20 years, Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar took action — and went knocking on doors.
“They open the door, and they take a double take, and it’s almost like, ‘hey, the Mayor’s here.'”
Well, it seems to have worked.
Claar leads Will County Commissioner Jackie Traynere 6,293 votes to 6,189 — a margin of just 104 votes — in Bolingbrook’s mayoral race.
“I would think that would be a wake-up call to the mayor,” said Professor Dick Simpson, a Political Expert at UIC.
Claar’s apparent victory comes after he hosted a controversial fundraiser for the then-GOP nominee Donald Trump at the village-owned Bolingbrook Golf Club last September.
Some voters haven’t forgiven Claar.
“The Mayor chose to get involved in supporting President Trump, having him there for a fundraiser, and 60 percent of his constituents voted for Hillary Clinton,” Simpson said. “So we sort of had a national election brought home to that one suburb.”
Elsewhere, in Orland Park, businessman Keith Pekau ousted longtime Mayor Dan McLaughlin.
Pekau won 6,904 votes to McLaughlin’s 5,784.
And Pekau had a lot of help. A political fund run by Dan Proft, a conservative radio host, poured $200,000 into the race, which was mostly spent on negative TV ads and mailings against McLaughlin.
“You had both what you might call big money in the election, and you had local conservatives of the tea party variety pushing a candidate. And they can still be effective in targeted elections,” Simpson said.
In the Bolingbrook race, the counting won’t be over until Tuesday, April 18. But privately, Traynere’s forces reportedly aren’t holding out much hope that mail-in ballots can surmount Claar’s lead.
Meanwhile, States Attorney Kim Foxx has pledged to file lawsuit if the winner in the Markham mayoral race takes the Oath of Office. Foxx wants Roger Agpawa removed because he pleaded guilty to federal mail fraud in 1999. State law bars convicted felons from holding municipal offices.
But Agpawa said the decision to swear him in is up to the Markham Village Board.