April 4th is a busy day in Illinois as many cities, towns and villages have their municipal elections. Four of the largest cities in the state have mayoral races that day; Aurora (200,661 pop), Rockford City (148,278 pop), Peoria City (115,070 pop), and Waukegan City (88,475 pop). I have blogged about the Peoria City race in which Democrat Couri Thomas is challenging the incumbent, which you can find here. So now let us take a look at the other three cities.
In the 2nd largest city, Aurora, the race features an open mayor's seat as Tom Weisner decided not to run for reelection. This lead to a four-way primary race which on February 28th the voters voted for Rick Guzman and Richard Irvin to move on to the April 4th general election.
From Rick's campaign website:
"Rick Guzman has served as Assistant Chief of Staff for the City of Aurora since 2011, working on issues like housing, development and neighborhood planning for the office of Mayor Tom Weisner during a time of substantial growth and change. Rick spent 8 years working for the State of Illinois as both a Policy Advisor to the Governor and as the Governor-appointed director of the state’s prisoner re-entry reform efforts."
Guzman continues to gain high-level endorsements as we move ever closer to election day. "Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, the staunch Republican former state senator, stood next to equally staunch Democrat Tom Weisner to endorse the man Weisner recruited as his assistant chief of staff and who is now trying to replace him as mayor of Aurora." (Denise Crosby, Aurora Beacon-News) Gaining the endorsement from Republican Lauzen could be just the thing for Guzman's campaign to achieve victory. Guzman winning this race would be a major hold for Democrats.
In Rockford, Democrat Tom McNamara is looking to replace Independent Lawrence Morrissey who decided not to seek reelection this year. McNamara will face three other opponents on April 4th; Republican Brian Leggero, Independent Rudy Valdez, and Independent Ronnie Manns. Currently, McNamara is serving as 3rd Ward Alderman, which covers downtown as well as Rockford’s east and west sides. A victory here will flip the mayor to the Democrats.
Over in Waukegan, Democrat Sam Cunningham defeated incumbent Mayor Wayne Motley in the Democratic primary and will face Independent Lisa May who is currently Alderman for the 7th ward. The outcome of the April 4th general election will produce either the first African-American Mayor for Waukegan or the first female mayor. A win by Cunningham will keep this seat in Democratic hands for the near future.