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updated: 4/10/2013 2:55 PM

Kovarik back for third term as Gurnee mayor

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  • Kristina Kovarik, left, defeated Trustee Kirk Morris for Gurnee mayor.

    Kristina Kovarik, left, defeated Trustee Kirk Morris for Gurnee mayor.

  • Thomas Hood

    Thomas Hood

  • Don Wilson

    Don Wilson

  • Jeanne Balmes

    Jeanne Balmes


Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik will return for a third term, defeating Trustee Kirk Morris in Tuesday's election.

With all 30 precincts counted, unofficial results show Kovarik with 2,033 votes to Morris' 1,216.

Kovarik, a former Gurnee trustee, was elected to her first 4-year term as mayor in 2005. She and Morris disagreed on most major issues during the mayoral campaign.

"It's my biggest margin ever," an ecstatic Kovarik said after the final results. "I did not expect the margin to be this big."

Kovarik said she plans to continue to work with other major retailers interested in locating in Gurnee after Macy's was lured there. Macy's will open at Gurnee Mills later this year.

Morris said he needed a strong voter turnout to take the mayor's seat from the veteran Kovarik. He said the 10 percent turnout in Gurnee wasn't enough to help him.

"If 90 percent of the village doesn't care, I hope 90 percent of the village doesn't complain," Morris said.

Kovarik said managing expenses has been a daily activity for the village in the eight years she's been mayor, with moves including job consolidation and postponement of capital improvements and purchases.

But Morris, who was unsuccessful when he ran in a Republican congressional primary in 2008, said Gurnee's overall budget continues to increase each year, and he called for 15 percent across-the-board budget cuts, along with hiring and wage freezes while directing more financial resources to public safety.

Early this year, attorneys for Morris and the village officially ended a lawsuit that he initiated in 2010 after his private foundation was removed by Kovarik as developer of a memorial to troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Gurnee's insurance carrier paid $200,000 to the trustee's Pfc. Geoffrey Morris Memorial Foundation. It is named for Morris' son, a Marine who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

Meanwhile, Trustee Jeanne Balmes, Thomas Hood, Terry Waddell-Moenter and Don Wilson competed for three 4-year village board seats. Balmes, Wilson and Hood were the winners.

Unofficial results show Balmes led the pack with 2,251 votes, followed by Hood at 2,087 and Don Wilson's 1,462.

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