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updated: 3/19/2014 12:17 AM

Santos, Avila, Bradford lead for MWRD board

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Cynthia Santos, Frank Avila and Tim Bradford appear to have cruised to easy victories in the Democratic primary for three nominations to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board.

With about 98 percent of the precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, unofficial totals show incumbent Santos with 112,573 votes, or 18.3 percent; incumbent Avila with 111,120 votes, or 18 percent; and Bradford with 107,243 votes, or 17.4 percent.

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They were among 10 candidates competing for three nominations. Other candidates were Tom Courtney, Brendan Francis Houlihan, Josina Morita, Kathleen Mary O'Reilley, Frank Edward Gardner, Adam Miguest, and John S. Xydakis.

The primary winners will take on three Republicans and three Green Party candidates in the November general election. Three six-year terms will be at stake.

Santos attributed her success to support from political organizations throughout the city and suburban Cook County.

"I had widespread support among Democratic committeemen across Cook County and had every union behind me," she said.

Santos, who was first elected to the board in 1996, said she looks forward to working with suburban leaders to relieve flooding problems.

The top three vote getters were the first three candidates listed on the ballot, in the same order as Tuesday's results. The ballot order was determined by a lottery involving the candidates who were in line to turn in their nominating petitions when the filing period opened.

Morita, who placed fourth with 85,132 votes, said that likely made an impact in the totals.

"I think it was probably a factor," she said. "In these down-ballot races they aren't something people pay as much attention to."

Commissioners are paid $70,000 a year, plus they receive health care and pension benefits. The majority of candidates said they thought the compensation was justified.

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