Overseeing four children at the United Center and watching the Atlanta Hawks wallop the Chicago Bulls, Patrick Lahey needed a boost.
An Election Night victory did the trick.
Lahey was safely in second position Tuesday night when Cook County posted the first bulk of voting results, and he will become the newest member of the Wilmette Park Board come May.
“I was surprised. I didn’t think I’d ever be close to (incumbents Julia Goebel and Cecilia Clarke),” Lahey said. “It was kind of a wow moment. A lot of people voted and voted for me. … It was surprising.”
Lahey collected 3,052 votes (23.08%), behind Goebel (3,153 votes, 23.85%) and just ahead of Clarke (3,004, 22.72%) in the top three in a race for four open seats.
The fourth spot was more of a barnburner, but in the end went to incumbent and Board President Mike Murdock (2,095, 15.84%), who finished 177 votes, or 1.3 percentage points, ahead of Scott Krone (1,918, 14.51%).
The top vote-getter Goebel was pleased with the voting turnout: 4,033 ballots cast, or 18.57 percent of registered voters.
“I was pleased that we saw good participation,” she said. “… It’s always good to have residents engaged, and I think all candidates ran a solid race.”
During election season, Murdock drew public scrutiny.
A campaign sign promoting Murdock was displayed at The Wilmette Theatre, a nonprofit organization that the IRS prohibits from participating in political activity. Murdock is the president of the theater’s board of directors.
Additionally, a group calling itself These 4 the Parks campaigned against Murdock and urged voters to select all of the other candidates instead. According to an email from Murdock to members of the group, Murdock claimed he would not run for board president if re-elected as a commissioner.
Murdock, Goebel, Clarke and Lahey will be sworn into their positions during a ceremony in May. Commissioner Lindsay Anderson, who dropped from the race early in the campaign, will come off the board.
Goebel said the veteran group has a lot of work to do in the near future.
“I think it’s so important to keep the momentum going,” she said. “We’ve made some progress in streamlining our governance … and I think we have work to do to get the comprehensive plan and strategic plan complete this year.”
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