Dems ahead early in Will
Party looks to add seats on county board
Democrats were leading in Will County races for clerk, sheriff and treasurer with nearly all of the precincts reporting and all early votes tallied, according to the clerk’s office.
Democrats also were on track to pick up a couple of seats on the county board, where Republicans now have a 15-11 majority.
To replace retiring County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots, county board member Lauren Staley-Ferry was leading with 51 percent of the vote to her Republican opponent Laurie McPhillips, with 49 percent.
Sheriff Mike Kelley appeared to be on his way to second term, with 58 percent of the vote, compared to his Republican challenger and deputy Jim Reilly with 42 percent.
But Treasurer Steve Weber trailed in his bid for a third term, with 49 percent of the votes to Republican Tim Brophy with 51 percent.
McPhillips said the county Democrats were riding the “blue wave” created by J.B. Pritzker, who appeared to take the governor’s office away from Bruce Rauner.
Pritzker had invested in local races, and “it’s hard to compete with that much money,” McPhillips said.
Staley-Ferry could not be reached for comment.
Kelley was confident of a second term, but not yet claiming a victory until all numbers were in.
Speaking to supporters at The Forge in downtown Joliet, he said, “I am humbled to be your sheriff and I hope I will be your sheriff again.”
“I stand here humbled because you guys who work for the sheriff ’s office are the reason we are winning,” said Kelley, a widower, who was accompanied by his three sons and his parents.
Staley-Ferry, of Joliet, was backed by the labor unions, while McPhillips, a Plainfield resident and current real estate broker, was endorsed by Voots and former clerk Jan Gould.
McPhillips made an issue of Staley-Ferry’s felony forgery charge in November 2002. Maricopa County Arizona police charged then Lauren Staley with forgery for writing a $500 check to herself from the business where she worked at the time, and then moved to Wisconsin.
Charges were dropped in 2012, and Staley-Ferry admitted her guilt when it
Despite a number of ballot measures that appear likely to pass, based on unofficial early returns, there also are some staring down possible defeat.
Voters in Tinley Park appear to be rejecting a park district referendum asking for an increase of the corporate tax rate by 7 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. Officials said if the measure passed, it would represent a “wash” for residents, as the district plans to retire outstanding debt at the end of 2019 and 2020. With the majority of precincts reporting, however, the referendum has received only one-quarter of the vote, according to unofficial returns.
The White Oak Library District, which operates branches in Lockport, Crest Hill and Romeoville, also seeks passage of a tax hike that has failed multiple times, including earlier this year, and again appears to be on the verge of defeat, according to unofficial returns.
With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, the item, which asks voters to approve a tax rate increase of 3 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, has only 40 percent support, unofficial results show.
The district said that if the measure passes, it would increase hours, expand home delivery and create a digital media lab with the increased revenues generated from a tax increase.
In Lemont, a community of about 17,000 people located in Will, Cook and DuPage counties, just over 40 percent of voters have supported a question that would grant the village home rule status, according to unofficial returns from 8 of 14 precincts.
If Lemont were to become a home rule community, its officials want to raise the sales tax rate 1 percent and may impose fees on video gaming terminals in an effort to create revenue for infrastructure projects, village administrator George Schafer said.