Contested mayoral races take shape in DuPage County
Voters in Bensenville, Bloomingdale, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Roselle, Warrenville, West Chicago, Winfield and Villa Park will cast ballots this spring in contested mayoral elections.
The last day of candidate filing ended Wednesday for municipal, park, school and fire district boards in the April 9 election.
Bensenville Village President Frank Soto is among several incumbents who will have to work to keep their jobs.
On Wednesday, Soto said he wasn't surprised to learn his bid for a second term is being challenged by Trustee Oronzo Peconio and Richard Johnson, who won't seek another term on the Bensenville Park District board to run for village president.
"The remnants of the old administration are still around," said Soto, who defeated longtime incumbent John Geils in 2009. "They see this as an opportunity to stop what is occurring and try to move things back to the way they were."
In Roselle, longtime Village President Gayle Smolinski is being challenged by Ronald Baker, a village trustee who is serving his first term, and newcomers James Banks and Jim Schelling.
"I welcome the chance for all of us to air our accomplishments and our ideas for the future," said Smolinski, whose goals include finishing the village's plan for fiscal sustainability and establishing a charitable foundation by which donors can fund items Roselle otherwise could not afford.
Four other incumbents facing re-election battles are Bloomingdale Village President Bob Iden, Glendale Heights Village President Linda Jackson, Warrenville Mayor David Brummel and West Chicago acting Mayor Ruben Pineda.
Brummel is being challenged by newcomer Michael Hoffmann.
To keep his longtime seat, Iden must defeat state Rep. Franco Coladipietro, who decided this year not to run for re-election to his 45th District seat in the Illinois House.
Linda Jackson, the longest-serving village president in Glendale Heights history, is facing her first contested election in eight years. Former Village Trustee Ed Pope and former Queen Bee Elementary District 16 school board member Marilyn Liwanag filed petitions to run against Jackson, who became mayor in 1999.
In West Chicago, acting Mayor Ruben Pineda will have to defeat three opponents -- Wayne Woodward, Robert Wagner and Alderman Nicholas Dzierzanowski -- to keep the position for four years.
There are no incumbents running in contested races for village president in Lombard, Winfield and Villa Park.
Lombard voters will choose from among three candidates: Trustee Keith Giagnorio, former York Township Trustee Moon Khan and former DuPage County Treasurer John Lotus Novak.
Khan and Novak said they are stepping forward after the August death of longtime village President William J. "Bill" Mueller left a leadership void.
"The village is completely divided into two groups, two camps," Khan said. "I believe politics should not be based upon groups and ideology."
Giagnorio said the village board has formed consensus on the majority of issues over the past year, despite the initial struggle to choose a temporary successor to Mueller. He said he learned a lot about how the village works while serving as a trustee under Mueller's leadership.
"I have the experience not only to keep what we did in the past in mind but really to move things forward," Giagnorio said. "I've been tutored by the best the village has had (Mueller), and I know what it takes to be village president."
Winfield Trustee Erik Spande and newcomer Rob Hanlon will square off in the race to succeed Village President Deborah Birutis, who won't seek a second term.
"Winfield deserves better," Spande said. "I am running for village president to preserve the Winfield police department, establish transparent government and provide a realistic budget."
A three-person race has emerged since Villa Park Village President Tom Cullerton's November election to the state's 23rd Senate seat.
Looking to fill Cullerton's municipal role are Trustee Albert Bulthuis and former police Chief John Heidelmeier, who was removed from his position in January. A third person filed to run for village president and trustee seat with the intent of dropping out of one race by the Jan. 2 deadline, but Village Clerk Hosanna Korynecky would not release that person's name.
Bulthuis said he wants to continue working on initiatives he pushed with Cullerton, such as implementing the village's comprehensive plan and a crime-free housing program.
"I think we've put the right people in the right places right now to help the village move forward and take on some of the problems that we have," Bulthuis said.
There will be uncontested mayoral races in Addison, Aurora, Glen Ellyn, Itasca, Lisle and Oakbrook Terrace.
Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, Itasca Village President Jeff Pruyn, Lisle Mayor Joe Broda and Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Tony Ragucci are running unopposed.
Addison Trustee Rich Veenstra won't face opposition in his bid to replace longtime Addison Mayor Larry Hartwig, who decided not to seek a fifth term. Veenstra has been a trustee since 1992 and deputy mayor since 2003.
In Glen Ellyn, local businessman Alex Demos is running unopposed for village president after already winning an election of sorts: at the biennial town meeting of the Civic Betterment Party, an 82-year-old nonpartisan nominating party, he defeated Mary Loch 699 to 629.
Current Village President Mark Pfefferman decided not to seek a second term, per town tradition.
Not every town will have a mayoral race in April. The terms of mayors in Naperville, Wheaton, Carol Stream, Oak Brook and Wood Dale don't expire until 2015.
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