Donna Miller was the winner of the 6th District Cook County Board race Tuesday night that lived up to predictions that it would be one of the most competitive matchups in the area.
Three candidates running to succeed incumbent Chicago Ridge resident Ed Moody, who chose not to run for election to the seat he was appointed to in 2016. The candidates were healthcare consultant Miller of Lynwood, Patricia Joan “Tricia” Murphy of Crestwood, and Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta.
Murphy was hoping to take the seat that her mother, Joan Murphy, held from 2002 until her death in 2016. But with all 219 precincts reporting, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office, Miller won the seat with 17,601 votes (43.39 percent), to 16,477 (40.62 percent) for Murphy. Presta came in a distant third with 6,490 votes (16 percent).
While Murphy called Miller to concede the Cook County Board race late Tuesday night, she still had something to celebrate when she eked out a victoru the Worth Township Democratic committeeman race against John Michael O’Sullivan. According to the Cook County Clerk’s office, with all 100 precincts reporting, Murphy won with 9,188 votes (50.88 percent) to 8,905 votes (49.22 percent) for O’Sullivan.
Miller, 52, of Lynwood, said before the election that being “independent” set her apart from her opponents. Noting that the district takes in 35 communities in eight townships, stretching from Bedford Park and Bridgeview on the north to communities such as Lansing and Lynwood near the Indiana border. Along the way it takes in all or part of Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Worth, Palos Heights, and Orland Park. Because the district borders both Indiana and Will County, she said the area is “especially hard-hithit by high taxes
“I think the idea is to protect the Southland as a region, and not pit communities against each other. We want to have the whole region work together, to collaborate and communicate. That is what I am good at,” said Miller.
Miller also said her experience in the healthcare industry will be helpful in her new role, because providing health services is a big part of the county government. As she watched the election results surrounded by family and friends at Mama Vesuvio’s in Palos Heights, and the chances of victory slipped away, Murphy said she was happy with her campaign.
“No stone was left unturned. We did everything we could. I ran a positive campaign and told the truth,” said Murphy, laughing as she recalled meeting commuters at train stations, handing them packets of snacks along with her campaign information.
“Although we did not get the results we wanted, we have much to be proud of.”
Presta’s election night gathering in At the Office bar in Crestwood, was more subdued around 9 p.m. when it was clear he had not come close to winning.
He was the only one of the three with government experience and said before the election that he saw himself as the frontrunner.
The Crestwood mayor on Tuesday night said he did not want to talk about the election results with newspaper reporters. “They wrote a lot of bad things about me,” he said. But he greeted friends and supporters warmly as they stopped by his table to say hello.
“This is one of the most loyal people I have ever met in my life,” said Paul Jimenez after shaking his hand.
“He would have made a great county commissioner. But that’s politics,” said Ed Fitzgerald, owner of Louisa’s Pizza and Pasta in Crestwood.