A recount Thursday morning should decide the outcome of the April 9 St. Charles Second Ward race between then incumbent Alderman Cliff Carrignan and challenger Art Lemke, but the matter already seemed decided Monday night.
Carrignan accepted a framed photo collage of points of interest in the city from outgoing Mayor Don DeWitte. He then delivered a pre-emptive farewell speech in the event the recount doesn't go his way. Fresh off experiencing the death of his father, who was in decline throughout the campaign, Carrignan choked back tears as he told residents in attendance he was honored to have served them.
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"It's been a long week," Carrignan said. "It's been a ride. Thank you all so much."
Carrignan finished five votes behind Lemke in the official vote count. A recount of a precinct selected by Carrignan Thursday morning at the Kane County Clerk's office will determine if that number moves at all. Carrignan said he isn't expecting any miracles.
"It's extra rare than an aldermanic race is overturned, but it's five votes," Carrignan said. "You never know the answer until you ask the question."
Meanwhile, Lemke took the oath of office and even cast his first couple votes as an alderman Monday night. In an interview, he said he feels confident he will remain the victor after the recount because all the ballots have already been counted electronically.
"In the days of the old ballots, human error would have made a change more likely, but not now," Lemke said.
It is somewhat familiar territory for Lemke. Two years ago he lost to the other Second Ward Alderman, Rita Payleitner, by six votes. But there was no recount in that contest.
"I would have never considered it," Lemke said. "I told Rita after that race that I was glad she won."
Both Carrignan and Lemke have hired attorneys to represent them at the recount. Neither man was clear on what would happen if the recount resulted in the overall race becoming a tie.