Some Incumbents Lose Their Jobs, Thanks To Primary Vote

Feb 28, 2017

Some incumbents lost their seats in Tuesday’s primary election, which was marked by very low turnout in every race.

Some of Tuesday’s winners will be guaranteed victory in April because there are no qualified candidates to oppose them.

Rockford

Two Rockford City Council incumbents were pushed out of their seats by primary challengers Tuesday,

Jeanne Oddo, D-8th Ward, lost to Karen Hoffman, and Karen Elyea, D-11th Ward, came in second to Tuffy Quinonez in a three-way race, with Lisa Palmeno bringing up the rear. Both primary winners will take seats on the council due to lack of opposition.

Vernita Hervey, D-5th Ward, handily defeated Robert W. Jennings to retain her seat; she is unopposed on the April ballot. Ann Thompson-Kelly, D-5th Ward, easily topped Wladimiro Aguirre and will face independent Bryant Moore.

The lone Republican alderman to face a primary challenge was Timothy Durkee in the 1st Ward. He took 53.7% of the votes cast, defeating Frank Gambino. Durkee will face Democrat Michael Laskonis.

The only mayoral primary in Rockford was on the Republican ticket, where Brian Leggero defeated 6th Ward Ald. Pam Connell by a margin of just over 2 percentage points. The winner will join Ald. Tom McNamara, D-3rd Ward, and independent candidates Ronnie Manns and Rudy Valdez in the April 4 contest. Connell also will lose her City Council seat.

Belvidere

As the Republican primary winner, Mike Chamberlain will have a second term as mayor of Belvidere since no one else has filed to be on the April 4 ballot. He won 62.3% of the vote over Fred Brereton Jr., with voter turnout at 9.6% of the registered voters.

Thomas Ratcliffe will be the next 3rd Ward Alderman, with 63.3% of the vote over Daniel Hulina.

Aurora

Richard C. Irvin and Richard “Rick” Guzman will advance to the April 4 contest for mayor of Aurora. They received 32% and 26.7% of the primary votes cast, with Democratic State Rep. Linda Chapa La Via garnering 26.2 percent and Michael B. Saville bringing up the rear at 15.1%.

Freeport

Winning more than 57% of the primary votes cast, Freeport 4th Ward Ald. Jodi Miller claimed the Citizens Party nomination for mayor. She’ll face independent Andrew Crutchfield and People's Party candidate Jon Staben in April.

In the race for Freeport Township Assessor, unofficial totals put Meta B. Ridgway 11 votes ahead of Brad Hartog.