D’Arcy elected mayor of Joliet

O’Dekirk says he’s ‘very proud of what we accomplished’ in 8 years

Election 2024
Gregg Kessling points to a TV displaying election results as Terry D'Arcy enters his election night event at Inwood Golf Course, in Joliet, on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

Terry D’Arcy has been elected mayor of Joliet, holding a 2-1 margin of victory with most votes counted on Tuesday.

D’Arcy said he could not explain the margin of victory but said he looked forward to taking the mayor’s office.

“It’s a pretty exciting thing I’ll tell you,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being able to lead our city.”

D’Arcy told supporters that his goals included revitalizing the city. His run for mayor involved extensive door-to-door campaigning, visiting voters first hand, and appealing to those who thought they weren’t being heard at city hall.

“I’ve been part of this community for 30 years,” D’Arcy said in a phone interview. “I think a lot of people remembered that."

Joliet mayor Bob O’Dekirk thanks his supporters after announcing that he called mayor candidate Terry D’Arcy to concede and let him he would help in the transition.

O’Dekirk conceded to D’Arcy shortly after 8 p.m. and only about an hour after the polls had closed.

“I told Terry I would help in the transition and would be very happy to do so,” O’Dekirk said in a phone interview later.

O’Dekirk was seeking his third term as mayor and fourth consecutive city election victory since becoming a councilman in 2011.

“I am very proud of my record and what we accomplished in the last eight years in Joliet,” O’Dekirk said.

D’Arcy jumped out to a big lead when early voting and mail-in precincts were posted first in both Will County and Kendall County sections of Joliet. He maintained that lead as precincts were counted.

With more than 80% of the vote counted D’Arcy had 7,559 votes to 3,798 for O’Dekirk. Tycee Bell, the third candidate in the Joliet mayoral race, had 1,176 votes.

Terry D'Arcy speaks at an election night event at Inwood Golf Course, in Joliet, on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

O’Dekirk was seeking his third term. If elected, he would have won four consecutive city elections since first being elected to the City Council in 2011.

Two polls in recent weeks, one done for the D’Arcy campaign, showed D’Arcy with a double-digit lead, an edge that the mayor disputed but proved true as numbers came in Tuesday.

Low turnout was being reported at many Joliet precincts, a trend that could favor an incumbent like O’Dekirk who has a track record of turning out voters on Election Day.

D’Arcy knocked on a lot of potential voters’ doors in a campaign in which he contended residents would get more attention from city government if elected.

Both D’Arcy and Bell were making their first runs for elected office.

Bell also made an appeal to residents who may feel neglected by the city, saying she would call upon her background as a community strategist to give minorities and other groups a bigger say in city government.

Bell faced an uphill battle in the campaign without the financial resources to buy advertising and fund political mailings to get her name recognition against her two better known opponents.

D’Arcy is widely recognized not only because he has owned several car dealerships in town over the past three decades. He also has contributed to community causes, including leading an effort to save the city’s Fourth of July fireworks show when it faced cancellation in the 2008 recession.

O’Dekirk ran on his record, pointing to a lengthy list of private and public projects during his two terms as mayor that include the Lake Michigan water project and the Houbolt Road bridge. He also cited $5 billion in private investment in Joliet development over eight years, improvements in city finances, and rising home values.

But the mayor also had a record of confrontations, including a famous 2020 scuffle with two protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally in Joliet that led to a state police investigation but no charges against O’Dekirk.

O’Dekirk also was the subject of a police report filed by a former council member accusing the mayor of intimidation November 2020.

Another state police investigation into that matter led to no charges against the mayor. And, it resurfaced just five weeks before the election when the city’s inspector general, who reports to the mayor, filed a report alleging O’Dekirk was the target of a conspiracy aimed at discrediting him.

The inspector general has recommended criminal charges of official misconduct against former Police Chief Al Roechner and former Deputy Chief Marc Reid, riling up one more controversy that has been a hallmark of the last four years.