Vic Santi poised to win McHenry First Ward race as write-in candidate

Incumbent alderman was kicked off ballot for failing to turn in required form but ran as write-in instead

A write-in campaign for one McHenry City Council candidate proved to be successful as Vic Santi is now poised to win the First Ward aldermanic race.

Santi, who was kept off the April ballot after failing to turn in a statement of economic interest by the December deadline as required by election rules, had 307 votes, according to unofficial election results posted by the McHenry County Clerk’s Office. Running against him was Bobbi Baehne, who garnered 147 votes.

These numbers still are unofficial, however, as not all mail-in and provisional votes have been counted.

Baehne, a former Fourth Ward alderwoman, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, resigned in 2019 after she moved out of the ward. She was backed by Mayor Wayne Jett.

Reached by phone on Saturday, Santi said he is happy and relieved.

“It was quite an interesting last three months,” he said.

But, Santi said, once he knew he was off the ballot, he and volunteers in his campaign committee sat down and figured out what to do.

“I pitched them on the fact that I’m a 16-year incumbent. My neighbors know me. It’s not that tough of a name,” Santi said. “It’s not tough to find me, it’s not tough to get ahold of me, and I’m proud of that fact.”

For Santi, what helped him win was “good old-fashioned groundwork,” he said.

“Beating the bushes and going door-to-door, it’s something I did 16 years ago, and it’s something I did 16 days ago,” Santi said.

Now, for his next term, Santi is focusing on completing the Riverwalk, revitalizing downtown areas and the rebuilding of local streets.

“To me, [downtown is] Green Street, Riverside Drive and Main Street,” he said. “I don’t want to put any downtown business district at a higher level. I try to look at them as evenly as possible.”

He also looks forward to working with both new and current council members as well as Jett.

Along with Santi, Frank McClatchey, a former alderman, and Ryan Harding, appointed to the council in 2019, are on track to win seats on the City Council as well.

Santi plans on making this his last term on the council.

“I look forward to these four years,” he said. “This is it. ... I’m probably going to be working for somewhere between four to eight more years. And I plan on call it a day as an aldermen at this time in four years.”

Cassie Buchman

Cassie Buchman

I cover Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Prairie Grove and Oakwood Hills for the Northwest Herald.