Voters OK direction of city, re-elected Elgin council incumbents say
Not surprisingly, the incumbents on the Elgin City Council who won re-election Tuesday said the result was an endorsement of the direction the city has been going.
In the race for four, 4-year council seats, Councilman John Steffen was the top-vote getter, followed by council members Tish Powell, Rose Martinez and Toby Shaw, according to unofficial results. They ran against challengers Dustin Good, Fred Moulton and Anthony Ortiz.
Newcomer Baldemar Lopez won the race for a vacant two-year seat, besting Steve Thoren and Jerri McCue. Mayor David Kaptain won against challenger Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger.
"I think we work relatively well as a group," Steffen said. "I think there's clear differences but people, I'm guessing, appreciate the issues that we are focusing on and want us to do more."
Steffen said he was surprised to get the most votes. This year he held one fundraiser, compared to two or three in the past, but walked more precincts to knock on doors, he said.
Shaw said the results of the election confirm the results of a residents' survey done in summer 2017 that showed people generally were pleased with the services provided by the city.
"There were no divisive issues brought up in this campaign that held water to allow challengers in," Shaw said. As an example, he pointed to long-standing complaints by the fire union regarding understaffing at the fire department as an issue he said did not resonate with voters.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Powell said the incumbents' re-election "says a lot about the direction of our city. While Elgin has its share of challenges, we also have our share of successes and the entire staff and city council have contributed to that."
Powell applauded Rauschenberger for "stepping out to the plate" and running for mayor.
It's not easy "to put yourself out there" to run for office, Martinez said in a Facebook post.
"We all have to understand that it's not about us, it's about Elgin and the people we serve," Martinez said. "I look forward to working with everyone. We may disagree but I only ask that we do it respectfully."
The candidates' stance on the fatal police shooting of resident Decynthia Clements did not seem to affect the outcome of the election. The city has hired an outside firm to do an internal investigation into whether Lt. Christian Jensen violated police department policies or procedures when he shot Clements in March 2018.
The candidates who said Jensen should be fired -- Powell, Good and Ortiz -- finished second, fourth and last, respectively, among the seven candidates.
Steffen and Shaw said they reserve judgment until the investigation is completed, while Martinez said she will stand by the results of the investigation.
Lopez said any final decision should take into account the community's feelings about the shooting.