Incumbent supervisors in Wauconda, Avon townships ousted

  • Lincoln Knight

    Lincoln Knight

  • Avon Township Supervisor Terry Wilke, left, was ousted Tuesday by township Trustee Michele Bauman, right. Township Clerk Jeanne Kearby, center, ran with Bauman and was elected as a trustee.

    Avon Township Supervisor Terry Wilke, left, was ousted Tuesday by township Trustee Michele Bauman, right. Township Clerk Jeanne Kearby, center, ran with Bauman and was elected as a trustee. Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer, 2020

 
 
Updated 4/7/2021 10:10 PM

Many incumbents held their ground Tuesday, but two well-known Lake County township supervisors were voted out of office.

In Wauconda Township, Lincoln Knight ended Glenn Swanson's 16-year run. In Avon Township, challenger Michele Bauman crushed Terry Wilke's bid for a second term.

 

Unofficial results showed Knight with 1,014 votes to Swanson's 783. Knight, who chose not seek another term as Wauconda mayor, ran with a slate of four incumbent township trustees, as well as clerk, assessor and highway commissioner candidates who were unopposed.

"That was my career, my job," Swanson said Wednesday. "I can keep my head up and know I made a lot of great changes, a lot of positives there."

Knight was not available to comment Wednesday. His slate's webpage said he and his team wanted to improve efficiency, provide a more transparent website and expand services to veterans and teens.

In Avon Township, Bauman's Avon Focused slate dispatched Wilke and his running mates for all trustee spots, as well as clerk, where Kristal Larson became the first openly transgender candidate elected to office in Lake County.

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Unofficial results showed Bauman, who opted not to run for a second term as township trustee to challenge Wilke, collected 2,670 votes to her opponent's 1,074 votes.

Avon's political climate has been turbulent. Wilke has been assailed by Bauman and others for what they described as "unprofessional and unacceptable," actions and behaviors, including his purchase of a vacant home on the township's behalf.

"I'm beyond overwhelmed," Bauman said Wednesday.

"I was worried about his name recognition but I've been working on bringing stronger government, better government ethics for some time."

Wilke also has represented the Lake County Board's 16th District, which includes portions of Round Lake and Round Lake Beach, since 2008.

"I was surprised," he said of the overwhelming outcome. "I can tell you, I don't have a good explanation. They got into the ears of the voters in a way we just didn't."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Monday, Wilke resigned his spot on the county board's Diversity & Inclusion committee after being condemned by fellow Democrats for comments in a township campaign mailer described as offensive to Larson. Wilke was taken to task for "deadnaming" Larson by a name she no longer identifies with and has been legally changed.

Wilke said the reference was overblown and may have been used for political purposes but was uncertain whether it made a difference in the vote.

Bauman said she wants to assess community needs and educate residents about township services.

"I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and bringing about better local government," she posted Wednesday on Facebook.

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