Kleckler wins Rock Falls mayoral race by two votes

ROCK FALLS – Ward 3 Alderman Rod Kleckler is the city’s new mayor.

When the last ballot affecting the April 6 race was opened during this morning’s official canvass, the vote was for Kleckler, giving him a two-vote lead over incumbent Mayor Bill Wescott, 405-403, Whiteside County Clerk Dana Nelson said.

Kleckler, 66, who has served two terms as alderman, will take over as mayor at the city’s May 4 council meeting.

It will be his responsibility to appoint a Ward 3 replacement, who will serve the remaining 2 years of Kleckler’s term, then must seek election to retain the seat.

He was not immediately available for comment this morning.

The former president of the Sauk Valley Landlord Association describes himself as fiscally conservative. He campaigned on a promise to fix Rock Falls streets, which he said should be “the first priority of the city,” and to work collaboratively with his council.

“My leadership style will be to to work in a democratic fashion that will involve the City Council in decision-making more than it is currently involved,” Kleckler has said.

“The mayor should be viewed as just one part of the equation, with all working parts working in unison.”

A disappointed Wescott, who was seeking his third term as mayor, said this morning that he is considering contesting the race, noting he has 3 days to make up his mind.

When a candidate loses a race by 5% of the vote or less, he or she can petition the county clerk for a discovery recount, and 25% of the precincts involved – in Rock Falls’ case, 3 out of the 10 – will be examined for any irregularities, such as problems with the voting machines, and the votes in those precincts recounted.

The recount must be requested within 5 days of the canvass, and completed within 3 days of the winner being notified in writing of the recount.

It won’t change the election outcome, but the findings can be used to challenge the results in court, if the loser decides to take that course, which comes at his or her expense.

Wescott, 68, who is retired, is vice president of the board of the Sauk Valley Community College Foundation, is involved with his church, and added that with the various nonprofits in the area, “there’s are always plenty of things to do if you want to stay involved and help the community out.”

Go to https://il-whiteside.pollresults.net/ for the final results of all April 6 Consolidated Election races in Whiteside County. (They will be labeled unofficial until the county’s vendor can make the change, Nelson said.)

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.