DuPage County will have at least three contested mayoral races

  • John Prendiville

    John Prendiville

  • Philip Suess

    Philip Suess

Updated 11/26/2018 6:26 PM

The stage is set for contested mayoral races next spring in Downers Grove, Naperville and Wheaton -- but without any primaries.

The weeklong filing period in those three towns -- as well as Aurora, where only aldermanic seats are up for election -- ended Monday. Other communities will have their filing period for the April election next month.

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Here's what's happening:


Voters in Wheaton will choose between two contenders vying to succeed Mayor Michael Gresk, who is stepping down after three terms.

City Councilman Phil Suess officially entered the mayoral race on the last day of candidate filing, though he confirmed his campaign months ago. His council colleague and opponent in the mayoral race, John Prendiville, turned in his nominating petitions when the filing period opened a week ago.

Three candidates -- incumbent Suzanne Fitch and newcomers Ron Almiron and Erica Bray-Parker -- will square off for two available at-large council seats. Nominating papers were filed last Monday on behalf of Fitch and Almiron, an attorney who finished out of contention in a crowded GOP primary last spring for two District 4 seats on the county board. Erica Bray-Parker also filed last Monday for an at-large council seat.

Bray-Parker has been a civics teacher at Glenbard North High School for 25 years and lived in Wheaton for more than two decades.

Four council members represent the city's four voting districts, while two members and the mayor are elected at-large.


Suess, a partner in an investment consulting firm, ran unopposed last year to retain his seat representing the North District. His fourth term on the council doesn't expire until 2021.

Prendiville served on the council from 2007 to 2011 and again since 2013 after an unsuccessful run to unseat Gresk as mayor. He is the managing director and senior managing counsel for The Bank of New York Mellon Corp., a firm that acts as a trustee for municipal bond issues.


Races for mayor and four city council seats in Naperville all will be contested, but no primary elections will be required to narrow the field.

After a busy first day of filing Nov. 19, in which two mayoral and nine city council candidates filed nominating petitions, three more council candidates filed Monday. No one new filed for mayor.

The race for mayor now pits incumbent Steve Chirico, who is finishing his first four years in office, against newcomer Richard "Rocky" Caylor.


Chirico's priorities include filling vacant commercial buildings, revitalizing the 5th Avenue area around the train station and keeping the city's finances strong with debt-reduction measures. Caylor said he has experience building businesses, partnering with schools to address workforce development and volunteering as a mentor. He is a Marine veteran who runs a consulting company with his wife and is CEO of a logistics firm in Joliet.

The race for four open city council seats includes 12 candidates, two of them incumbents. New candidates to join the field Monday include former city council member Joseph McElroy as well as newcomers Barbara O'Meara and Nancy Turner.

While longtime city council member Paul Hinterlong and first-term member Patty Gustin both filed nominating petitions last week seeking to retain their seats, first-term members Becky Anderson and Rebecca Boyd-Obarski are not seeking re-election.

Newcomer Patrick Kelly said Boyd-Obarski endorsed him for one of the open seats.

Also on the ballot for council seats will be former city council member David Wentz, planning and zoning commission member Bruce Hanson and liquor commission member Whitney Robbins, along with newcomers Bradford Miller, Theresa Sullivan and Michele Hilger Clemen.

It would have required 17 candidates for the four 4-year council terms to trigger a primary election, and five candidates for the position of mayor, the city clerk's office said.

Without a primary for mayor or council, Naperville residents will decide their city's representation on the April 2 ballot.

Downers Grove

With Downers Grove Mayor Martin Tully stepping down because the village has term limits, three candidates have emerged to replace him.

Village commissioners Bob Barnett and Marge Earl went to village hall on the first day of the filing period to submit their petitions to run for mayor. Paperwork also was filed for state Rep. David Olsen, a Downers Grove Republican who lost his re-election bid, to enter the mayoral race.

Earl says she was encouraged by a bipartisan group of people to enter the race.

"I thought about it for many months," said Earl, who has been a commissioner since 2016. "I think I have quite a few things I want to get done in this town."

Barnett, who has been on the council since 2009, said he's running for mayor because he would like to play a bigger role in the many opportunities facing the village.

"I've been pretty frustrated with the general pace of progress in the village over the last three or four years," Barnett said. "I'd like to accelerate that."

Meanwhile, three of the village council's six commissioners are up for election: William Waldack, Bill White and Nicole Walus. Commissioners are elected at-large.

Waldack and Walus both filed the paperwork they needed to seek re-election last week. On Monday, five other people entered the race for commissioner -- Richard "Rich" Kulovany, Jacob Kist, Jeffrey M. Jacobson, Jennifer Huda and Leslie Sadowski-Fugitt.

Walus, who has served on the council since 2016, says she's seeking another term because she wants to continue serving the community.

"I have been working with community service organizations my entire life," she said. "I really enjoy it."

Waldack said he's running again because he's interested in advancing human services. He also says the council has "a lot of things" on its plate, including parking in the downtown, trying to attract new businesses and stormwater issues.


In Aurora, 22 people have filed petitions for aldermanic seats.

Ward 3 Alderman Thedoros "Ted" Mesiacos will run unopposed.

Alderman Sherman Jenkins is seeking the at-large seat, as are Brooke Ann Shanley and Durrell Williams.

In Ward 1, Peter Aguilera, Emmanuel Llamas, Caryl Riley, Amanda Sperzel, Valerie Budach and Hugo Saltijeral are running.

The Ward 5 candidates are Alderman Carl Franco, Casildo Cuevas and Bonnie Kunkel.

For Ward 6, Alderman Michael Saville, Matt Harrington, Dan Hites and Matthew J. Orr are running.

And in Ward 8, Patty Smith, Savannah Smith, Thomas Weil, John Robinson and Paul Santucci will face off.

The crowded fields in Ward 1 and Ward 8 will trigger a primary to narrow the fields in those two wards to four candidates in the April election.

• Daily Herald staff writers Susan Sarkauskas, Katlyn Smith and Marie Wilson contributed to this report.

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