Incumbents come out on top in DuPage mayoral races

Incumbents in some of DuPage County’s most heated mayoral races appeared to hold their ground April 6, while voters in other communities settled a battle between newcomers for the top municipal posts.

Upsets were nonexistent in this year’s consolidated election, with unofficial results showing experience beating out change in Aurora, Lisle, Lombard and several other contests.

New leadership was imminent in five towns where incumbents were not seeking reelection: Glen Ellyn, Elmhurst, Roselle, Villa Park and Winfield.

Of the 16 mayor or village president seats up for election in the Daily Herald coverage area, 12 were contested. Results aren’t final until 14 days after Election Day, when all outstanding mail-in and provisional ballots are counted.

Elmhurst

In a race between three aldermen and a write-in candidate, Scott Levin appeared headed to victory for the city’s top seat, according to preliminary results.

A 5th Ward alderman since 2010, Levin received 3,225 votes. Third Ward Alderman Michael Bram secured 2,645 votes and 7th Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner received 1,964, according to unofficial tallies with all precincts reporting. 19-year-old Willem Caster ran as a write-in candidate.

Levin is poised to take the helm from Mayor Steve Morley, who is stepping down after his second term.

Levin, a 66-year-old attorney, said he believes the city needs to “take a macro look” at its future by conducting a full review of boards and commissions to evaluate whether the community’s needs are being met.

Lombard

A third term appears to be in the cards for Village President Keith Giagnorio, who was ahead in a tight reelection battle against Trustee Reid Foltyniewicz.

With all precincts reporting, voters cast 2,589 ballots for Giagnorio compared with 2,259 for 37-year-old Foltyniewicz, a two-term trustee, according to unofficial results.

Giagnorio, 59, who owns the local Gianorio’s Pizza & Pasta, said Lombard has positioned itself for a bright future, even in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis and economic uncertainty, with new construction and redevelopment keeping the village on an “upward trend.”

Villa Park

In Villa Park, Nick Cuzzone held a slim lead in a battle between two sitting trustees vying to replace Village President Al Bulthuis, who was not seeking reelection.

Unofficial results show 1,396 votes cast for Cuzzone, while his opponent, Bob Wagner, had 1,292.

Glen Ellyn

In a race that pitted a sitting trustee against a former one, Glen Ellyn voters elected Mark Senak to the village president post.

With all precincts reporting, unofficial tallies showed Senak with 2,929 votes. His opponent, Pete Ladesic, had 1,993.

Senak is poised to succeed first-term incumbent Diane McGinley, who did not seek reelection.

In the middle of his second term on the village board, 59-year-old Senak has been backed by the Civic Betterment Party, a historically dominant force in Glen Ellyn elections.

Ladesic, 59, who previously served three board terms, ran for the village’s top seat as an independent.

Development has been a key issue of the race, with Senak calling for a spectrum of affordable housing and “smart development” in his vision for the downtown. The attorney wants to create downtown green space and supports the use of tax incentives to attract developers who will retain the historic character of the area.

Lisle

Challenged by two trustees, first-term Mayor Christopher Pecak is likely to retain his seat in one of the county’s most heated races.

According to unofficial totals, the incumbent received 1,498 votes. Stephen Winz had 903 and Sara Sadat garnered 755, with 28 of 30 precincts reporting.

Pecak, a construction project manager, said he believes his experience leading the village the past four years, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, sets him apart from his opponents.

Both elected to the board in 2019, Sadat and Winz supported recreational marijuana sales as a new revenue source for the town, though the village ultimately opted out of legal sales. Pecak has said a referendum question is the best way to gauge community sentiment on the topic.

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.

Unofficial results showed the incumbent with 6,825 votes, compared with 2,583 cast for John Laesch and 2,918 cast for Judd Lofchie, 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.

Lofchie, a 10th Ward alderman, and Laesch, a former East Aurora Unit District 131 school board member, have criticized the mayor’s leadership style and say they believe the city needs to move in a new direction.

The 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.