If he keeps this up, Art Lemke may become the king of photo finishes on election night. Having lost a chance at regaining a seat on the St. Charles City Council two years ago by only six votes, unofficial results counted him the 2nd Ward aldermanic winner Tuesday night by a mere eight votes over incumbent Cliff Carrignan.
Perhaps it is because he so recently lost by a razor-thin margin, but Lemke isn't basking in victory just yet. Both Lemke and Carrignan still believe there is at least a chance that a handful of ballots in the mail -- or perhaps some provisional ballots -- have not yet been counted. That's despite the fact that all absentee ballots that had arrived by Election Day were included in the Kane County Clerk's tally Tuesday evening.
"On election night, I pulled in all my signs, got together with my wife and turned off the phone," Lemke said. "I've told a couple of neighbors let's hold our horses and make sure the totals don't change. I'm going to wait until the results are certified."
Carrignan agreed. There was no white flag from him Wednesday. He, too, will wait for the election results to be certified.
"Never say quit until it's over," Carrignan said.
He spent most of election night cheering fellow aldermen and Ray Rogina, now mayor-elect. But when he wasn't doing that, he was puzzling over how close his own contest was.
"I don't know what the difference was this time," Carrignan said. "If I would've known this was where we'd be today, I would have addressed the issues in a clearer, more precise manner."
Lemke said if he is the winner it's because 2nd Ward residents believe Carrignan had his shot at turning Charlestowne Mall around. Now it's time for someone else to try, Lemke said.
"Even in Cliff's neighborhood, they are worried about the mall," Lemke said. "They would really like to see a more cooperative effort, more dialogue between the city and the owner. And if the owner doesn't want to stay with this mall, then we need to look for a new owner."
If Carrignan does end up on the short end of the vote tally, he said he has no ill will toward Lemke.
"Art went out and worked hard," Carrignan said. "I commend him. I wish him the best of luck."