The April 2021 suburban Chicago election was a historic night for women and candidates accused of Federal crimes.
Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty thanks campaign volunteer James Koch during Tuesday night’s celebration at J.C.’s Pub in McCook. Photo by Steve Metsch.
Polls closed later than usual for the Chicago suburbs elections held on April 5th. More than 30 Cook County precincts were granted permission to stay open for an additional hour for voting. This meant that most results came in overnight or early morning Wednesday.
All precincts are now in, and the results may surprise some people. The winners for the various offices in suburban Chicago were an interesting mix, showing two trends. The first was the trend towards electing more women to higher offices in Chicago than ever before. The second trend reflected a troubling aspect of Chicago politics, namely a seeming indifference to electing those with a criminal past or those who have been accused of federal crimes.
The April 2021 election in suburban Chicago was a notable night for women. In south suburban Flossmoor, Michelle Nelson won with 58% of the vote. She is the first female mayor in the town's 100-year- history. Nelson is a civil engineer, who ran on a platform calling for growth through new businesses being brought to Flossmoor.
In Dolton, Tiffany Henyard, a senior village trustee, was elected the first female mayor of the village of Dalton, a southern suburb of Chicago. She won an impressive 82 percent of the vote. During her campaign she pledged to unite the various factions that are dividing Dalton.
Waukegan Ald. for the 9th Ward, Ann Taylor declared victory Tuesday night in her race for mayor. She is the city’s first female mayor. Along with being mayor, Taylor is the President of Taylor Enterprises which provides services for some of the largest medical device companies in the world.
In Willow Springs, a western suburb of Chicago, Melissa Neddermeyer was elected the first female mayor of the village. Neddermeyer is a 40 year old attorney who serves as a village trustee, Chairs the Public Safety Committee and is Liaison to the Beautification Commission.
In another western suburb of Chicago, Katrina Thompson was elected the first African-American female mayor of the Village of Broadview. Thompson ran on a platform of diversity and balance. She has served as the Executive Director of West Humboldt Park Development Council.
In Mettawa, Jess Ray won the mayoral seat. Ray was the only candidate on the ballot. Incumbent Casey Urlacher ran as a write-in candidate after he was pardoned by President Donald Trump for his alleged involvement in an off-shore gambling ring.
In an interesting turn of events, in the small north shore suburb of Mettawa, Jess Ray, a former mayor, was elected mayor again. It had not been his intention to run, as when he left office in 2013, he was 69 years old and looking forward to retirement. Last year he became involved in a zoning issue and realized no one was running for mayor.
The mayor at the time Casey Urlacher, was not originally planning to run, as he was one of 10 individuals indicted for running an illegal offshore gambling business by a federal grand jury. Just hours before Donald Trumps term in office ended, he gave Urlacher a full pardon. Though it was too late to get on the ballot for mayor, he ran as a write in candidate.
Urlacher wasn’t the only candidate caught up with legal problems to run for office in the Chicago suburbs. Two other mayoral candidates ran and won despite federal charges. In south suburban Crestwood, incumbent Lou Presta was elected to a third term despite federal charges that he accepted a bribe to promote a company then lied about it to the FBI and IRS.
In the western suburb of Lyons, mayoral incumbent Chris Getty was re-elected for a sixth term with 69 percent of the vote. He is one of the targets of a wide ranging corruption investigation. First elected at the age of 26, Getty is the youngest mayor in the village’s history.
See how corruption has affected Chicago and Illinois politics:
See here for a complete list of Chicago suburban election results.