Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar fended off two challengers to win a second term in office on Tuesday, but there will be major changes on the board of trustees because the two trustee candidates who ran with him also won, as did a third independent candidate.
Tokar received 35.68 percent of the votes (714), with Fran Coglianese, who headed up the Results Now ticket, coming in second with 32.38 percent (648). Sally Durkin, running independently, came in close behind her with 639 votes (31.93 percent).
Coglianese and Durkin are both trustees, and Durkin’s term is up so she will be stepping down when the new board is sworn in in May. Two current trustees, Bruce Quintos and Amanda Cardin, ran for re-election on the Results Now ticket, but they lost as well, as did Scott Schaal, the third trustee candidate on that ticket.
According to unofficial final tallies from the Cook County Clerk’s office, the top vote-getter among the trustee candidates was independent Lisel Kwartnik, who received 20.82 percent (1,025), followed by Tokar allies Ed Kowalski with 18.43 percent (907 votes) and Deb Pyznarski with 17.31 (852 votes), who all won seats.
Quintos, who has been a trustee since 2003, was running in his fifth election, but fell short this time with 15.32 percent (752 votes). Cardin lost her bid for a second term with 14.12 percent (695), followed by retired police officer Scott Schaal, who received 14 percent (698 votes).
Even incumbent Village Clerk George Schleyer, who ran for a second term as part of the Results Now team, lost to Barbara Harrison, an independent. The Chicago Ridge native said she would devote more time to office than Schleyer did.
“I’m ready and looking forward to the challenge,” said Harrison, who won with 61.18 percent (1,179) to 38.82 percent (748 votes) for Schleyer.
“I’m glad the campaign is over. We tried to stay positive. Everything we put out there was truthful,” said Tokar. “It was the residents’ turn to speak, and I think we were vindicated because all independents won.”
The mayor, with his fiancée Denise Ridley, and son, Charlie, celebrated with Pyznarski and Kowalski and their supporters, including Trustee Jack Lind at The Grove bar following the election.
“This guy is great. We are going to continue to do great things for the village of Chicago Ridge,” said Lind.
“I ran a good campaign. I’m proud of that. I can sleep at night. Some people tried to bring private family issues into this campaign and that was not right.” said Pyznarski. Currently the village treasurer, she will step down from that role to take her seat on the board of trustees now.
“I am looking forward to a very productive term. We’re going to get a lot of things done and continue to move this village forward,” she said.
Earlier in the day, when it was drizzling rain, all three Chicago Ridge mayoral candidates, as well as Pyznarski, Kwartnik and Cardin, milled outside Ridge Central School chatting with voters and dodging raindrops. All the races were contentious this year, and the candidates all seemed happy the hard-fought campaigns were over, and Election Day had arrived.
Durkin, who held her last meet-and-greet on Sunday, said she was happy with her campaign, no matter how it turned out in the end.
“We’ve done everything we could. My sole reason for getting in this race was to make things better in Chicago Ridge,” she said.
“I feel good about the campaign. People have been very welcoming. But the first thing I am going to do when it is all over is sleep,” said Coglianese, only half-jokingly.