Dems carry election day as Wells-Armstrong posts upset in Kankakee; Schore keeps post in Bourbonnais
Democratic candidate Chasity Wells-Armstrong was elected the new mayor of Kankakee, unseating incumbent Nina Epstein, a Republican, and becoming the first black woman to lead the city.
A first-term 5th Ward alderman, Wells-Armstrong came out on top in the race with 1,918 votes, compared to two-term Mayor Epstein's 1,703. Independent candidate Jim Stokes, a firefighter and former 2nd Ward alderman, received just 455 votes.
In Bourbonnais, voters re-elected Mayor Paul Schore. Schore received 58 percent of the vote, beating Republican candidate Jeff Keast 1,225 votes to 875.
This is the second time Keast, a village trustee, challenged Schore. He made a strong bid during the election season, outlining his plan for a teamwork leadership approach if elected. Keast ran for mayor in 2013 as an Independent, but was on the ballot as a GOP candidate during this election.
Keast was just one of the several candidates put forward by the GOP. Chris Deschand, Mike Zenz and Brad Arthur all ran for trustee seats in Bourbonnais with Republican support.
In addition to Keast's loss, Deschand, Zenz and Arthur also lost their bids to incumbents R. Bruce Greenlee and Rick Fischer and first-time trustee candidate Angela Serafini.
According to further results from the Kankakee County clerk, several additional precincts reported unofficial preliminary outcomes in yesterday’s races, with a slightly higher level of certainty shown in Highway Commissioner elections compared to Supervisor or trusteeship spots.
In races for Grant Park Village with all candidates running as Independents, Martin Roth edged out Adam Ekhoff for the position of President by 56 votes; while Dana Dickson defeated William Coats by 92 votes to assume a two-year trustee spot.
Limestone Village’s Coleen McCabe appeared set to defeat Gretchen Lamie by a lead of 38 votes, representing a 10 percent margin; in Buckingham, Janalynn Anderson showed a strong lead over both Barbara Schneider and Stephen Schneider to win a trustee position.
Bradley polls favored Democrat Michael LaGesse over Julie Tambling for Village Clerk with a solid lead of nearly 400 votes, close to 20 percent; its trustee race was too close to call.
Momence will likely confirm that Charles Steele defeated fellow Independent Steve Gross to become mayor by approximately 170 votes, over 25 percent in the lead.
GOP candidate Anjanita Dumas won the race for Kankakee City clerk over Democrat Lashaan Lott by approximately 344 votes or roughly 10 percent of the total.
In Kankakee’s elections for aldermen, District 1 favored Democrat Cherry Marshall substantially over one write-in candidate, with Marshall scooping over 90 percent of the vote.
In addition, Ward 6’s Republican Christopher Curtis defeated Democrat Tommie L. Ivy Sr. by approximately 100 votes. Other Kankakee City ward races reported no competition as only one candidate ran for alderman in several jurisdictions.
In Kankakee Township’s Highway Commissioner race, Democrat James Tierney won over two Independents: David Wulff and Patrick Coy.
Limestone Township voters decisively chose CNC candidate Dennis Rettke for Township Supervisor over Independent contender Cynthia Sidener with over a two-thirds majority and 35 percent lead. Limestone also chose Rosanne Gianotti over Trevor Edmonson as its new Park Commissioner, with Gianotti earning twice the votes as her competitor in a lead of more than 500 votes.
A generous margin also favored Independent Michael Wepprecht for Essex Township Highway Commissioner, with 172 votes to his competitors’ Glen Kirchner and Patrick O’Brien’s 89 and 52, respectively; and Pembroke Township’s Supervisor Brenda Miles, sporting a 175-vote lead and garnering twice the number of votes as Sharon White (both Independents)
St. Anne’s Highway Commissioner election results were also evident, with Thomas Cotton defeating both Kelly Kleinert and Craig Clement — all Independent candidates.
Norton Township’s trustee spot appeared destined for David Sergeant with a 10 percent lead over Judith Zehr.
Bourbonnais constituents selected Jeff Umphrey as new Township Supervisor over Antonio Carrico with a nearly 20 percent margin equal to 875 votes.
Finally, a referendum item expanding the County Board to 21 members passed overwhelmingly, with 11,026 YES votes and 2,825 NOs — roughly a sixty percent margin of approval.
Townships trustee results were too close to call as of press time for over a dozen jurisdictions including Bourbonnais and Kankakee.
Initial vote tallies were reported by Bruce Clark, Kankakee County clerk, with all precincts reporting. These results are reliable, but final results have to be certified before being entered into permanent record. You can see these results in full at the county clerk's website.