Dominiak withdraws as Antioch mayoral candidate

The race for mayor in Antioch has tightened to three candidates after a strategic action by one of the challengers.

Trustee Mary Dominiak, who entered the campaign in September to unseat longtime Mayor Larry Hanson, withdrew from the race this week, citing her original reason for running.

"I went into it because I thought it was time for new leadership and fresh vision," she said Friday. "The conventional wisdom is that multiple candidates favor the incumbent, so I wouldn't achieve my goal."

Hanson served 14 years as a village trustee before being elected mayor in 2009 and is seeking a fourth term. He's challenged by newcomers Scott Gartner, managing partner at Merit Law Group, and Stacy Ellis, the widow of Illinois State Trooper Gerald "Jerry" Ellis, who was killed by a drunken driver in 2019.

Dominiak, elected trustee in 2011, is serving her third term and will remain on the board. She said she wasn't yet endorsing any candidate for mayor.

After her announcement, Gartner and Ellis both praised Dominiak's service to the community, including her involvement with the Antioch Area Healthcare Accessibility Alliance.

Should he be elected, Gartner in a Facebook post said Dominiak will be "a very important voice" in the direction of the growth and redevelopment of the downtown business district and Route 173 corridors.

Ellis on Friday said Dominiak "continues to be a strong voice for all Antioch residents" and shares the goals of addressing the village's infrastructure and the needs of public parks to benefit the community and businesses.

Hanson said he was surprised by Dominiak's withdrawal.

"We're still there working together for Antioch. We really are," he said Friday. "No ill will."

Hanson, a lifelong resident, has been challenged before and is philosophical about the race, saying it's good to have different viewpoints to consider.

"Nothing's guaranteed," he said. "I've got my record to stand on and everybody else can bring their ideas."

Hanson stressed the village's conservative fiscal approach, noting 11 consecutive balanced budgets and saying staff reductions and other measures saved more than $10 million. At the same time, the village has aggressively pursued economic development to generate new revenue and jobs, he said.

Ellis said the community supported her after her husband's death and she wants to work to make the village "the best Antioch possible."

Gartner has said he wants to preserve Antioch's small-town charm while increasing the value for residents and businesses.

"Our town is more than ready for a fresh start, new look and a change of vision all around," he said in announcing his candidacy.

Besides the crowded mayoral field, five candidates are running for three 4-year seats on the village board.

Incumbents Jerry Johnson and Scott Pierce are seeking reelection. They're joined on the ballot by Mary Priller, Brent Bluthardt and Petrina Burman.

Candidate filing sets up potential for spirited local races in Lake County

Antioch, Mundelein have four-way mayoral races; Gurnee and Lake Zurich also contested

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