Burns wins 6th term, but other Fox Valley mayors appear ousted

  • Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns looks to have won his sixth term as mayor.

      Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns looks to have won his sixth term as mayor. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/7/2021 10:57 AM
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct that Mike Reid Jr. is a two-term Hampshire trustee.

It was a rough night for some longtime mayors in the Fox Valley, with at least three of them likely losing their seats.

Michael Reid Jr. beat four-term incumbent Jeff Magnussen in Hampshire, Jeff Lynam defeated two-term mayor Lael Miller in East Dundee, and Jennifer Konen walloped 21-year mayor Sean Michels in Sugar Grove.

 

The results are unofficial and could change with the addition of remaining mail-in ballots, which could trickle in as late as April 20.

As of Tuesday, Kane County overall had received 2,851 completed ballots out of 5,778 it mailed out while DuPage County had received 12,120 of 19,161. In McHenry County, 460 of the 734 mail-in ballots had been returned to the county, so it's unlikely those numbers will change too many races.

Geneva

Kevin Burns won a sixth term as Geneva mayor.

In a rematch from the 2017 election, Burns led former alderman Tom Simonian by 6 percentage points, 2,434 votes to 2,136, with all 19 precincts reporting.

"Having endured a vicious, vindictive and vitriolic assault on me and my family, this evening's victory is particularly sweet," Burns said. "I look forward to continue serving all of Geneva and working with our professional staff, elected officials and scores of volunteers."

The 2021 rematch played on many of the same themes as the 2017 election, which Burns won with 62 percent of the vote.

Simonian declared that being the mayor of Geneva should be looked upon as the job of a lifetime rather than a lifetime job.

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It's a job Burns has held for 20 years.

Aurora

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin managed to stave off hard-fought challenges from two determined opponents, catapulting his way to a second term with an apparent victory Tuesday.

Unofficial results showed the incumbent with 6,825 votes, compared to 2,918 cast for Judd Lofchie and 2,583 for John Laesch, with all precincts reporting in DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.

After four years of prioritizing economic development in the state's second-largest city, Irvin told the Daily Herald he plans to "double down and take it to the next level" if reelected.

His administration has touted a "direct, proactive approach" to attracting new businesses and spurring redevelopment, often by building relationships and through the use of incentives -- a point of opposition among both candidates vying to unseat him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But 51-year-old Irvin, who previously served 10 years on the council as alderman at-large, has been quick to admonish their allegations of pay-to-play politics, saying his economic initiatives have produced tangible results.

St. Charles

Lora Vitek, a 4th Ward alderman, beat 5th Ward Alderman Maureen Lewis to become St. Charles' second female mayor.

"I'm beyond excited," Vitek said. "I've worked really hard for this. I think people are excited about what's happened in recent years and they like what they see in St. Charles and want to see more of it."

Alderman Maureen Lewis called her to offer her congratulations. "I respect Maureen greatly," Vitek said.

Lewis served on the city council for 10 years, while Vitek was elected in 2017.

Huntley

Longtime incumbent Chuck Sass held a 12-vote lead over two-term Trustee Tim Hoeft late Tuesday night.

Hoeft was Sass' his first challenge in 20 years. While it appears he scraped by with the win, there might be some mail-in votes to be counted.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed," Sass said. "We'll have to wait and see if anything else is out there, so we're not declaring anything at all."

Sass had said he was considering not running for office this year but then decided to go for one more term because "there are still things I'd like to get done in the village."

Hoeft, a 6-year trustee, felt it was his time. He surprised Sass, who he's known since he was 5 years old, with his bid for office.

West Dundee

Chris Nelson, the two-term village president, easily defeated Joseph Connell, a lifelong West Dundee resident and political newcomer.

With all votes cast Tuesday counted, Nelson had 640 to Connell's 242.

Regarding the vote, "I think it allows us to transition the town and its economy and diversify it," Nelson said. "The vote affirms the direction we're taking."

Nelson he and his team walked through the town twice, leaving literature on 2,000 doors where active voters reside.

East Dundee

Residents still will have a voice of experience leading the village.

Four-term trustee Jeff Lynam won with 241 votes to 203 over two-term Village President Lael Miller with all four precincts reporting.

Lynam, a retired financial analyst, is eager to begin working on the many projects he has planned, including development of the southern portion of the downtown area and building a parking garage to ease congestion.

"Within a year I'm hoping to see some of the development projects that have been stalled pick up again," Lynam said.

"My focus is what we can do to improve this town."

Hampshire

Two-term Hampshire Trustee Mike Reid Jr. handily defeated four-term Village President Jeff Magnussen by a count of 579 to 291.

"I'm so unbelievably humbled that the community came out and supported me the way that they did. This community is something that's very special to me. I hope I can live up to everyone's expectations."

"I had a great 16-year run here, and I guess it was time for a change," Magnussen said.

"I accept that and I will support Mike as we move forward here."

Sugar Grove

Village Trustee Jennifer Konen toppled 21-year Village President Sean Michels.

Konen won with 902 votes to Michels' 596.

"I've connected with a lot of people, I have a lot of support and friends in the community and I want to do great things," Konen said.

"I think the board is fabulous, and our staff is fabulous. I'm excited to get to work."

"I wish Jen the best," Michels said. "There's a lot of good things going on in Sugar Grove, and I'm sure everything will continue on. We've done a lot of good planning, and those plans will help pave the way for the future."

Konen, a real estate broker who was elected to the board as a write-in candidate in 2019.

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