Why 3 DuPage County mayors aren't running for re-election

Three DuPage County mayors, including two of the area's longest-serving, have announced they won't seek re-election next spring.

At a time when most voters are focused on presidential politics, Aurora's Tom Weisner, Roselle's Gayle Smolinski and Glen Ellyn's Alex Demos say they're preparing to step down - all for different reasons.

In the state's second-largest city, Weisner says his long-running battle with cancer has made it too difficult to continue in his role and he will retire Oct. 30 - months before his third term as Aurora mayor is scheduled to end.

Four candidates to replace him - Linda Chapa LaVia, Rick Guzman, Richard C. Irvin and Mike Saville - emerged when it became clear Weisner would not run again. All four grew up in the city and have held government leadership positions.

Chapa LaVia, a veteran of the Army and National Guard, has served as a state representative since 2003 in the 83rd District. Guzman has served as assistant chief of staff in Weisner's office since 2011. Irvin is an alderman-at-large who has been on the city council since 2007. Saville is a real estate agent and Ward 6 alderman first elected to the council in 1985.

If the field remains at four, the election will be decided April 4. If the number of candidates swells to five or more, a primary will be held Feb. 28 to narrow the field to four.

In the meantime, the council will choose one of its members to serve as acting mayor from the time Weisner steps down until his term ends in the spring.

In Glen Ellyn, Village President Alex Demos says he'll follow village tradition and step down after one term.

With a few exceptions, most elected village officials in Glen Ellyn voluntarily choose not to seek second terms.

The Glen Ellyn Civic Betterment Party is now seeking candidates to succeed him.

No one has applied yet, but there have been some inquiries, said Erik Ford, head of the nonpartisan organization. The party will present a slate of finalists for spots on the village and library boards during its biennial town hall in December.

Candidates not selected by a party committee to appear at the town hall can still pursue an endorsement if they're nominated from the floor. Residents can cast ballots during the meeting and a few days of early voting. The top vote-getters secure the party's endorsement and typically go on to win the general election.

In Roselle, Mayor Gayle Smolinski says she's received a lot of "thank yous" since announcing she's stepping down after more than two decades in the post.

"It has been really amazing," said Smolinski, currently DuPage's longest-serving mayor. "That's the part of this job that I'm truly going to miss - the interaction with my residents."

Smolinski, who became mayor in 1993, said she wants to spend more time with family, including her grandchildren.

She says she's already planning to spend much of her post-mayor time baby-sitting.

In the meantime, Smolinski is focused on several issues she wants to wrap up during her remaining seven months in office.

She says the village already has accomplished one of those goals by updating its strategic plan.

"That plan can carry the village forward while the new mayor is getting situated," she said.

• Daily Herald staff writers Justin Kmitch, Robert Sanchez, Katlyn Smith and Marie Wilson contributed to this report.

Majority of DuPage mayors seeking re-election in spring

  Glen Ellyn Village President Alex Demos is stepping down after one term, as is tradition in his community. Daniel White/
Longtime Roselle Mayor Gayle Smolinski will not seek re-election next spring. She has held the position since 1993. Daily Herald file photo
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.