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updated: 11/26/2012 7:47 PM

Primary needed in one Wheaton race, but 3 unopposed

3 are unopposed

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The way it stands now, Wheaton will need a February primary election to reduce the number of candidates hoping to represent the city's north side.

But candidates seeking three other spots on the city council won't face any opposition.

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By Monday, the final day of candidate filing for the spring ballot, the North District seat held by Councilman Phil Suess sparked enough interest to make a primary necessary. Suess, who is seeking his third term, must face challengers Robert Molenhouse, Alberta Adamson, Ted Rodgers and J.T. Del Alcazar.

On Monday, Suess declined to comment about having multiple opponents. Instead, he said he's running again because he believes the council has done "a good job managing the interests of the city."

"I think it's important to keep doing what we're doing," said Suess, a 55-year-old investment consultant.

Because there are five candidates in the race, a Feb. 26 primary must be held to narrow the field to four before the April 9 election. The only way the primary won't happen is if someone's nominating petitions are successfully challenged, which would remove their name from the ballot.

Suess will have the top ballot spot because he was the first to file.

The last spot on the ballot belongs to Del Alcazar, who submitted his paperwork a short time before the 5 p.m. Monday deadline. The 41-year-old attorney said he's running because he wants to help the city grow and raise more revenue.

Molenhouse mentioned the city's budget when explaining his reasons for running. He said his focus would be to keep spending under control.

"Instead of complaining about government, I figured I should do something about it," said Molenhouse, a 56-year-old business manager with Molenhouse Enterprises Inc.

While Suess must win a campaign to keep his seat, two other incumbents are getting a free pass.

Councilman Todd Scalzo, who has represented the West District since 2009, is running unopposed. Councilman John Rutledge, who was appointed to his South District seat in March 2011, also has no one standing in the way of his re-election bid.

Meanwhile, a 48-year-old program manager with DuPage County's probation department is poised to replace a longtime councilman in the East District.

W. Thoreson "Thor" Saline is the only candidate to submit paperwork to seek the seat held by Tom Mouhelis, who has represented the East District since 2001. Mouhelis is stepping down when his term expires in May.

Saline said he decided to run because he wants to serve his neighbors.

"As I thought about the opportunity to serve my neighbors, I realized how grateful I am to call Wheaton home," Saline wrote in an email to the Daily Herald. He said flooding and theater development are issues that need to be resolved by the council.

In addition to the four district seats, Wheaton's six-member council has two at-large representatives -- Jeanne Ives and Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti.

Last week, Ives resigned from the council because she has been elected to the state legislature. As a result, her city council seat will be up for election in April.

The filing period for the at-large vacancy will happen between Dec. 17 and Dec. 24. To qualify to run for the at-large seat, a candidate must collect signatures from at least 81 registered voters living in Wheaton. Whoever is elected to finish Wheaton's at-large vacancy will serve a term from May until May 2015. Mayor Mike Gresk and the council must appoint someone to fill the seat from December to April.

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