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updated: 12/17/2012 7:23 PM

Contested mayoral races abound in DuPage

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  • Acting West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda, right, files paperwork Monday to run for mayor along with mayoral hopefuls Nicholas Dzierzanowski and Wayne Woodward. City Clerk Nancy Smith is pictured at left.

       Acting West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda, right, files paperwork Monday to run for mayor along with mayoral hopefuls Nicholas Dzierzanowski and Wayne Woodward. City Clerk Nancy Smith is pictured at left.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

If you want to be elected a mayor or village president in DuPage County next spring, odds are you'll have to work for it.

The local election season began in earnest Monday with candidates throughout DuPage submitting nominating petitions to run for a variety of elected offices in the April 9 election.

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Hopefuls have until the end of the day Dec. 26 to enter contests for municipal, park, library and fire district boards.

But after just one day of filings, contested mayoral races will occur in Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Lombard, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Winfield and possibly Villa Park.

Acting West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda and two challengers -- Wayne Woodward and Alderman Nicholas Dzierzanowski -- were waiting together at 8 a.m. at city hall to submit their petitions for mayor.

Because the trio submitted their paperwork at the same time, they will participate in a Dec. 28 lottery to determine who gets the top spot on the April ballot.

"Ballot position is important," said Pineda, who was appointed acting mayor after the April death of his friend and political ally Mike Kwasman.

Pineda said he's running, in part, to continue pursuing the goals and ideas first outlined by Kwasman.

"I have been an alderman for 14 years," Pineda said. "I want to continue to work with public safety and try to bring in new businesses. I want to try to keep us fiscally strong like we have been for the past eight, nine years."

In Blomingdale, a race is taking shape for the top spot, where outgoing state Rep. Franco Coladipietro is challenging longtime incumbent Village President Bob Iden.

Iden, who this month celebrated 20 years as village president, filed nominating papers Monday as part of the Bloomingdale Unity Party.

Coladipietro announced last year that he wouldn't run to keep his 45th District seat in the Illinois House. At the time, the 44-year-old Bloomingdale Republican said he wanted to spend more time with his young children.

Coladipietro said Monday that serving as village president would allow him to serve his community in an office that doesn't require extended trips to Springfield.

"It satisfies that desire to give back to the community that I love and to share my experience," he said. "Having been in Springfield gives me a unique perspective."

Other mayoral incumbents facing opposition in April include Roselle Village President Gayle Smolinski, Warrenville Mayor David Brummel and Bensenville Village President Frank Soto.

Ronald Baker, a Roselle trustee who is serving his first term, and newcomer James Banks both are challenging Smolinski, who is a longtime incumbent.

Bensenville Village President Frank Soto's bid for a second term is being challenged by Richard Johnson, who is vice president of the Bensenville Park District board.

To keep his mayoral seat in Warrenville, Brummel will have to defeat Michael Hoffmann, a frequent critic about flooding issues in the city.

"I know it's hard running against an incumbent," said Hoffmann, who has never pursued an elected office before. "But when you see something wrong, you've got to step up."

The lack of an incumbent in Lombard, Winfield and Villa Park is expected to create contested races in those towns.

Trustee Erik Spande and Robert Hanlon have filed to run for village president in Winfield, where Village President Deborah Birutis has announced she won't seek a second term.

John Lotus Novak and former York Township Trustee Moon Khan have filed to run for village president in Lombard. The village's longtime president, William Mueller, died earlier this year.

In Villa Park, former police Chief John Heidelmeier, who was removed from his job by village officials earlier this year, is running for village president.

Heidelmeier and the village reached "an amicable resolution" in January to end his tenure as chief and his employment with the village, according to a statement from Village Manager Richard Keehner at the time.

Officials never provided an explanation for why Heidelmeier, who was chief for about two years, was removed.

While Heidelmeier was the only village president candidate to file on Monday, Village Clerk Hosanna Korynecky said she expects Trustee Albert Bulthuis to also run.

The village president seat will be open following the election of Tom Cullerton to the state Senate.

So far, there are uncontested mayoral races in Addison, Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Itasca, Lisle and Oakbrook Terrace.

Lisle Mayor Joe Broda, Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn and Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci all started re-election bids on Monday.

But longtime Addison Mayor Larry Hartwig has decided not to seek a fifth term. Instead, Hartwig is supporting Trustee Rich Veenstra's mayoral bid. Veenstra, who has been a trustee since 1992 and deputy mayor since 2003, filed on Monday as part of the United Addison Party.

With the support of the Glen Ellyn's 82-year-old nonpartisan nominating party, local businessman Alex Demos is running to become Glen Ellyn's next village president.

Demos earned the endorsement of the Civic Betterment Party at its biennial town meeting Dec. 1 where any village resident older than 18 can cast a secret ballot. Historically, candidates who win enough votes at the meeting go on to win the official village elections in April.

Demos defeated Mary Loch 699 to 629 in the balloting, which essentially represents a primary election in Glen Ellyn. Those who didn't earn the party's endorsement can still file to run in the official spring municipal election, but as of Monday morning, no one else had, according to Acting Village Clerk Patti Underhill.

Current Village President Mark Pfefferman decided not to seek another four-year term, upholding the town tradition of candidates only serving a single term.

Meanwhile, the longest-serving village president in Glendale Heights history, Linda Jackson, is seeking another term.

As of Monday morning, Jackson was the lone candidate to file for the office, according to Village Clerk Marie Schmidt.

Jackson, a 38-year resident of the village, was appointed as acting mayor in 1999, and was first elected to the position in 2001. She previously served as a village trustee.

• Daily Herald staff writers Justin Kmitch, Elisabeth Mistretta, Christopher Placek and Josh Stockinger contributed to this report.

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