McPeek wins; shakeup on Harrisburg city council

  • Monte Baker, left, and Lovie Stunson watch results broadcast on a monitor in the Saline County Courthouse Tuesday evening.

    Monte Baker, left, and Lovie Stunson watch results broadcast on a monitor in the Saline County Courthouse Tuesday evening. TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

  • Roger Angelly, one of four new Harrisburg City Council members elected Tuesday, speaks on a cellphone in the Saline County Elections Office after all precincts were counted.

    Roger Angelly, one of four new Harrisburg City Council members elected Tuesday, speaks on a cellphone in the Saline County Elections Office after all precincts were counted. TRAVIS DENEAL PHOTO

By Travis DeNeal
Updated 4/5/2019 10:30 AM

HARRISBURG -- Once the dust has settled following Tuesday's municipal election, the only thing that will look the same about Harrisburg's city council is its mayor.

John McPeek narrowly won his first full term as Harrisburg mayor Tuesday night. Unofficial vote totals show McPeek with 795 votes, compared with Robert C. Wilson's 778 and John P. Okerson's 332 votes.


"I want to thank the people of Harrisburg for going to the polls and voting for me," McPeek said after all results were reported by the Saline County Elections Office.

"I really appreciate everyone's support. I worked really hard for this, and I've worked really hard for Harrisburg. I served on council for 16 years before being appointed mayor, and I will continue to work hard for the city of Harrisburg and its residents."

McPeek said Wilson called him shortly after final results were in.

"I have a lot of respect for Robert, and this was a good, clean race," McPeek said.

Okerson, a political newcomer, had a positive message despite not winning the mayor's race.

"We gave her hell, but came up short in our efforts today. I am so grateful for and want to thank everyone that helped on this journey, supported me along the way, and got out to vote today. I love you all. Congrats and best wishes to Mayor McPeek and the newly elected council members," Okerson said. "I was determined to remain authentic and not be drawn into the political norms. I don't take it as a loss, but a learn. I won't change, but will get better."

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New Harrisburg council members elected Tuesday are Raymond Gunning, with 1,135 votes; Roger Angelly with 774 votes; Rupert Johnson with 740 votes, and Ron Morse, with 586 votes. Candidate Zachary Gibbons trailed just behind Morse with 581 votes. All vote totals are considered unofficial until the votes are canvassed.

It is possible that the final outcome of some very tight races could change, according to the Saline County Elections Office. For instance, in the Eldorado school board race, final numbers from Hamilton and Gallatin County voters in Eldorado's school district had not been received as of Wednesday afternoon. According to Rena Conkle in the elections office, April 15 is supposed to be the date for final results. However, their election equipment vendor has told them there is a five-day extension, meaning official election results could come in as late as April 20. She said the vendor informed the office he believes his company will have all official vote totals between April 16 and 18.

Gunning, the top vote-getter for council, thanked his supporters.

"I'm so grateful to all of you for your support. I give thanks to all of you," he said. "I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. We will work hard for you."

Natalie Miller, who had been on council the last four years, said she was grateful to those who voted for her.

"I appreciated everybody's support the last four years, and I appreciate everyone who supported me this time," Miller said. "Congratulations and I wish all the commissioners luck on the next four years."


More results

• In Eldorado, there were no contested elections at the city level. Mayor Rocky James was re-elected without a challenger, as were councilmen Jeff Minor, Tim McGrath, Thomas Hosman Sr. and the late Bob Briddick. Briddick, who was also a former Eldorado mayor, died in March. The Eldorado city council will appoint a person to fill Briddick's seat.

• In Carrier Mills, Tracy Felty, Charles L. Threet and William R. Jensik were elected village trustees.

• Galatia trustees elected were Della Darlene Higgins, Stephen A. Sloan and James K. Stevens. Perry Whitlock was elected to an unexpired two-year term.

• In Raleigh, Jack A. Trusty Sr., David Mitchell and Lydia S. Stark were elected village trustees. Tabitha Miller won an uncontested race for Raleigh village clerk.

• Chris Deaton, Monty Dunn and Isaac Craig won Stonefort's three full-term village trustee positions. Two-year seats went to Norman Martin, Kathie Powell and Thomas Martinez. James Milburn was the uncontested candidate for village president.

• Frances Bertino was the sole village president candidate in Muddy. Vince Molinarolo, Barbie Abraham and Mary Potter all won uncontested village trustee seats.

• Harrisburg Township Park saw two incumbent trustees re-elected. Richard R. Rumsey was top vote-getter in that race with 951 votes. Michael W. Williams had 649 votes.

• Carrier Mills Park's board had 28 write-in votes for Audie Murphy, the sole person filed as a write-in candidate.

• Eldorado Community Unit School District 4 saw Bryce Hampton, Stacy L. James and Preston Justice elected.

• Michael Blain, Matthew Seely, Wesley Henson and Olivia Bradley were the choices of Saline voters in Gallatin County's school district. However, it is unclear who were top vote-getters for Gallatin's school board overall.

Winners of other uncontested races in Saline County are:

Carrier Mills-Stonefort Library District -- Carleen Sanderson, Jennifer Oneal, Jerald J. Parton.

Eldorado Library District -- Susan Justice, Jeff Campbell, Robert E. Barker, Dolly Mace (four-year term).

Galatia Library District -- M. Kay Jackson, Judith Hunter.

Harrisburg Library District -- Janet K. Jones, Sally Wofford, Kelly Phelps (four-year term).

Carrier Mills-Stonefort School District -- Ryan Bradly Lewis (two-year term); Clay Nolen, Zachary W. Rister, Isaac Craig.

Galatia School District -- Joy Richey, Aaron Allen, Tim A. Pribble.

Harrisburg School District -- Brandon Henshaw, Ryan Lambert, Chris Penrod.

Southeastern Illinois Community College Board of Trustees -- Jimmy D. Ellis, Pat York.

Regional Board of Education -- Patrick Abell.

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