Dems ahead early in Will

Party looks to add seats on county board

Daily Southtown - - FRONT PAGE - By Su­san DeMar Laf­ferty

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

cials said.

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.

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