CHICAGO (CBS) — Tuesday’s suburban elections saw a handful of possible upsets and several tight contests, with some races for mayor separated by only a handful of votes.
In southwest suburban Bolingbrook, incumbent Mayor Roger Claar faced his strongest challenge in years, triggered by his support for President Donald Trump.
Last September, Claar invited the then-presidential candidate Donald Trump 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.
Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, won 66 percent of the vote in Bolingbrook, but Claar appeared to hold on for a narrow victory on Tuesday. He led by 104 votes, according to unofficial vote totals in Will and DuPage counties, but Claar acknowledged the race likely won’t be decided for a couple weeks.
Meantime, in north suburban Mundelein, incumbent Mayor Steve Lentz was hanging on by a thread, leading challenger Holly Kim by just 13 votes.
Waukegan voters appeared to have elected their first black mayor, with Ald. Sam Cunningham holding a 290-vote advantage over Ald. Lisa May. Cunningham defeated incumbent Mayor Wayne Motley in the Democratic primary in February. May, an independent, was bidding to become the first woman elected mayor of Waukegan.
In north suburban Evanston, only 159 votes separated apparent winner Steve Hagerty and Mark Tendam, out of more than 17,000 ballots cast. Tendam was seeking to become the city’s first gay mayor.
In southwest suburban Orland Park, landscaper and political newcomer Keith Pekau appeared to win an upset victory over longtime Village President Daniel McLaughlin, with an 1,100 vote lead out of about 12,700 ballots cast. McLaughlin has been in office since 1993, and Pekau benefitted from $200,000 in TV ads criticizing McLaughlin on property tax rates and the potential size of his pension, should he be re-elected.
West suburban Lisle also will see a change in mayors, with challenger Christopher Pecak leading incumbent Mayor Joseph Broda by 211 votes.