Wauconda Mayor-elect Lincoln Knight said he's pleased -- but not surprised -- by his overwhelming win in Tuesday's election.
Knight and his Wauconda Forward slate focused on issues including economic development and the ongoing effort to bring Lake Michigan drinking water to town. They deliberately avoided making negative comments about their opponents in the One Wauconda slate, which was led by mayoral hopeful Bryan Anderson.
Staying on the high road paid off: Knight beat Anderson by a 2-to-1 ratio.
The other Wauconda Forward team members -- Clerk-elect Cheryl Falk-Novak and Trustees-elect Tim Howe, Adam Schlick and Richard Morino -- won by similarly wide margins.
"We ran a positive campaign, one that my children would and could be proud of," said Knight, a village trustee since 2005. "(We focused) on our merits and actual platforms, not emotions."
Knight was pleasantly surprised when Anderson and his slate mates showed up at the Wauconda Forward victory party Tuesday night and offered congratulations.
"All was good," Knight said. "(It was) accepted well by our team, considering the circumstances."
Knight and the other Wauconda winners will take office May 2. He'll replace Mayor Frank Bart, who didn't seek re-election and endorsed Anderson.
Once in the mayor's chair, Knight said, he'll remain focused on the Lake Michigan water project, which is due to conclude in December 2018.
Bringing new businesses to Wauconda "while retaining and helping our existing businesses where we can" also will be a priority for Knight.
As for other mayoral responsibilities, Knight said he will have the new village board's committee assignments "ready to go" once everyone is sworn in.
"(There is) no need to delay for several months," he said. "This is a time to keep momentum moving forward."
The last four years have been politically tumultuous for Wauconda.
Narrowly elected in 2013, Bart was at odds with residents and the majority of the village board from the day he took office over several issues, including the ouster of a popular police chief, delays to the construction of the Lake Michigan water system and the shuttering of the town's emergency dispatch center.
Knight orchestrated the 2015 no-confidence vote against Bart, which was supported by the rest of the board.
When asked if he had advice for Knight, Bart recommended he continue the fiscal responsibility practiced by his administration.
Bart also urged Knight to retain the people running the village's various departments, especially Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner.
Knight said he has no intention to make personnel changes at village hall.
"Over the past few years we have established a leadership team that I am quite proud of and would not change at this time," Knight said.