When Rob Sherman declared he was running for Buffalo Grove village clerk, experts said that only a miracle would vault the nationally known atheist into the seat held by Janet Sirabian for 32 years.
On Tuesday, the experts were proven right, with Sirabian retaining her seat in a landslide, according to unofficial results.
With all 15 precincts reporting on the Cook County side, Sirabian led Sherman 987 votes to 109. With all 23 precincts reporting in Lake County, Sirabian outpolled Sherman 2,569 to 687. Overall, Sirabian's lead was 3,556 votes to 796.
Sirabian was grateful in victory.
"It is a great feeling to know that people appreciate what I have tried to do for the village for the last 32 years," she said.
She called it her toughest campaign, "since it was virtually my only one. The last time somebody ran against me was 1979."
Of Sherman's negative campaigning, she said, "All it did was get me more support."
She said she still enjoys the job after 32 years.
"For obvious reasons, I don't like politics, but I love government, and I hope to do more in the next four years to get people more involved in government, not necessarily to be a part of it, but to know what's going on and get out and vote in our municipal elections."
Sherman, who slammed Sirabian repeatedly during the campaign for errors made in the office and a lack of detail in meeting minutes, was unrepentant in defeat.
"I didn't expect to win," he said. "I cringe worrying about the next major screwup that Jan is going to commit and how that is going to harm the residents of the village.
"What Jan really should do is retire by the end of the year so that Jeff (newly elected Village President Jeffrey Braiman) can pick an insider to take over the job."
Sherman said he understood that challengers rarely defeat popular incumbents.
"I ran to let Jan know that she does not own that job. She does an excellent job when she wants to, but there have been times of late that she didn't want to. Now Jan knows that she doesn't own that job and that the job can be taken away from her if she doesn't do the job right.
"At least, I had the opportunity to put the fear of God into her."
A closer race took place for the remaining two years on the Buffalo Grove trustee seat formerly held by recalled Trustee Lisa Stone.
Andrew Stein, who ran unsuccessfully against Stone in 2009, led Denice Bocek 552 votes to 409, with 14 of 15 precincts reporting in Cook County. In Lake County, the margin was 3-to-1, with Stein grabbing 1,532 votes to Bocek's 524 votes. Overall, Stein leads 2,084 votes to 933 in unofficial results.
"I'm excited. I'm relieved," Stein said. "Iin the last two years, I learned a lot, and I really do look forward to having an opportunity to show the village what type of trustee I can be."
Bocek said she congratulated Stein and wished him the best of luck.
"Clearly my weakness is Lake County, but I don't think I could have done anything differenly," Bocek said.
The remaining races in Buffalo Grove are uncontested.
Jeffrey Braiman is running unopposed for village president, while Michael Terson, Steven Trilling and Jeffrey Berman are running for the three 4-year trustee seats.