Voters favor experience in Northwest suburban village board contests
Many village board and city council incumbents appeared to cruise to victory in the Northwest suburbs Tuesday night, though some newcomers also notched seats on the elected panels.
As results slowly began to trickle in late Tuesday from the Cook County clerk's office, several of the incumbents built up decisive leads -- even as the unofficial tallies didn't include late-arriving mail and provisional ballots. Ballots postmarked by Tuesday that arrive at election offices by April 20 will be counted.
Here's a closer look at some of the biggest races across the region:
A pair of incumbents on the Arlington Heights village board appear headed to reelection, set to be joined by two newcomers, according to the unofficial results.
With all 60 precincts reporting, Jim Bertucci tallied 5,715 votes, Trustee Jim Tinaglia had 5,684, Trustee Rich Baldino had 5,335, and Nicolle Grasse had 5,237, the results showed. They were trailed by Will Beiersdorf with 3,496 votes and Wendy Dunnington with 3,239.
Bertucci, a financial planner, longtime community volunteer and vice president of the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre board, said he would bring his background in finance, budgeting and intergovernmental relationships to the elected village position.
Tinaglia, who has served on the panel for eight years, said he was running for a third 4-year term to hold the line on taxes, while spending public funds smartly to maintain the best possible services for residents and businesses.
Baldino, who won an unconventional write-in campaign in 2017, said the village needs to keep the focus on sewer and water main replacements.
Grasse, a hospice chaplain, promised to bring a health care and human service voice to the board, from dealing with the effects of COVID-19 to calls for a more-inclusive community.
At least two new trustees are to be elected, after Trustees Bert Rosenberg and Greg Padovani didn't run for election.
Mayor Tom Hayes, who ran unopposed for a third term in Tuesday's election, endorsed Bertucci, Tinaglia, Baldino and Beiersdorf.
With Election Day votes in nearly all precincts counted, two-thirds of an incumbent slate of Hoffman Estates village trustees appear headed to reelection.
Trustees Karen Mills and Karen Arnet, with 2,545 and 2,408 votes, respectively, were well ahead of four other candidates for three 4-year terms on the village board. A third incumbent, Michael Gaeta, sits in fourth with 2,066 votes, behind Renee Robinson's 2,089.
Gaurav Patel and James Murre -- who joined Robinson on the Hoffman Estates Forward slate -- had 1,863 and 1,644 votes, respectively, with 28 of 29 Cook County precincts and one of one Kane County precinct reporting.
The incumbents were aligned with Mayor Bill McLeod, while the challengers teamed with retired police lieutenant and mayoral candidate Mark Mueller.
The newcomers argued they'd bring fresh ideas and energy to the board, while the incumbents maintained that their experience put them in the best position to govern amid the economic recovery from the pandemic.
Incumbents trustees in Buffalo Grove held leads for all three open seats on the village board.
With 18 of 19 precincts counted in Lake County and all 11 precincts counted in Cook, Andrew Stein had 1,382 votes, Joanne Johnson had 1,362 votes, and Lester Ottenheimer III had 1,208, according to the unofficial tallies.
Mike Terson was trailing with 1,058 votes, while newcomer Gowri Magati had 634.
Terson, a former trustee who ran for village president two years ago, has said he planned to use this election as a springboard for another run in two years.
Stein said he was surprised by his commanding lead because the pandemic had kept him from campaigning at locations like the train station and grocery store, or going door-to-door.
"I was not anticipating being where I am at this moment," he said.
Incumbent Wheeling Trustees Mary Krueger, Mary Papantos and James Ruffatto were poised to hold onto their seats in a race for three 4-year terms.
With all precincts reporting, Krueger tallied 1,202 votes, followed by Papantos with 1,174 and Ruffatto with 1,115, the unofficial results showed. They were trailed by Laura Rodriguez with 980, Kim Scanlon with 950 and Donald Lee Waller with 863.
Although running independently, the incumbents promoted their campaigns together via a Facebook page called Keep Wheeling Rolling. They teamed with Village President Patrick Horcher and clerk candidate Debbie Acevedo.
The challengers ran under the Moving Wheeling Forward slate headed by village president candidate Mark Smith and clerk hopeful Kathy Brady.
In Des Plaines' 3rd Ward, Sean Oskerka led a crowded field of candidates seeking to replace Alderman Denise Rodd, who wasn't seeking reelection. With all precincts in, Oskerka had 470 votes, followed by Eugene Fregetto with 403, Shawn Killian with 159 and Norbert Paprocki with 114, the unofficial tallies showed.
Alderman Carla Brookman of the 5th Ward was in line for a second consecutive term, holding a lead of 385 to 276 over Jennifer Nutley. Brookman also served on the council from 1997 to 2009.
In the 7th Ward, Patricia Smith defeated Christopher Wozniczka 567 to 345 votes, in a bid to replace incumbent Don Smith.
Two incumbent Rolling Meadows aldermen previously appointed by Mayor Joe Gallo appeared to fend off election bids by a pair of challengers with a history in city government.
With all four precincts reporting in Ward 1, Alderman Karen McHale tallied 256 votes to 244 for former Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chairman and two-time mayoral candidate Dave Whitney. The candidates ran to fill a 2-year term after Gallo foe Mike Cannon stepped down from the city council in November.
In a race for a 4-year term in Ward 4, Alderman Jenifer Vinezeano led Brad Judd 223 to 195 votes, with all three precincts in. Judd was alderman for eight years until Gallo defeated him in 2017.
In a race for three available 4-year trustee seats in Hanover Park, Syed Hussaini, incumbent Trustee Bob Prigge and Yasmeen Bankole led Tonya Frosheiser and Trustee Sharmin Shahjahan.
In the contest for three available 4-year seats in Bartlett, Aaron Reinke, Stephanie Gandsey and Daniel Gunsteen led Vince Carbonaro and Theresa Materna.
Winners in two notable elections weren't immediately known Tuesday because of write-in candidate results that would be released later.
Three 4-year Mount Prospect trustee seats are available, with the names of Augie Filippone, Terri Gens and Peggy Pissarreck on the ballot, and Brian Maye launching a write-in campaign.
In Des Plaines' 1st Ward, former City Clerk Gloria Ludwig filed as a write-in after Alderman Mark Lysakowski's January arrest on a driving under the influence charge.