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Oak Lawn: Election is sweet this time for Streit

Four years ago, Oak Lawn Trustee Robert Streit and his supporters gathered at Deja Brew Bar and Grille and anxiously awaited returns in an unexpectedly tight race in which a write-in candidate nearly defeated the veteran trustee.

Things were much sweeter this time.

There were no such worries on Tuesday night, as Streit was easily elected to a seventh term as 3rd District trustee. Streit and his supporters returned to Deja Brew to celebrate his victory.

With seven of the district’s eight precincts reporting, Streit garnered approximately 55 percent of the vote, easily defeating challengers Scott Hollis and J. John Zurek.{{more}}

Streit received 837 votes to Hollis’ 595, according to unofficial results reported by the Cook County Clerk’s office. Zurek came in a distant third, gathering 81 votes.

Less than 25 percent of the district’s 6,404 registered voters turned out to cast ballots in the premier race in Tuesday’s contests.

Several of Streit’s political opponents worked hard to unseat him.

Village Clerk Jane Quinlan endorsed Hollis and Trustees Alex Olejniczak (2nd) and Terry Vorderer (4th) both walked the 3rd District to convince voters to end Streit’s 24-year run as trustee.

But their efforts weren’t enough.

Streit, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, said recently that he has worked since November on his election campaign. He added that he approached the campaign as though he was a 10-point underdog.

Streit, who has spent much of the past two years criticizing Mayor Sandra Bury and her administration, was noticeably quiet at recent board meetings, leading some to speculate that he toned down his admonitions leading up to Election Day.

Hollis, who also could not be reached for comment Tuesday, has said Streit ran a dirty campaign that included telephone calls to his house in the middle of the night. Hollis also was convinced that he was being followed.

In District 1, incumbent Tim Desmond easily defeated challenger Cindy Trautsch in a rematch between the two.

Desmond received 520 votes to Trautsch’s 346, according to unofficial results.

Turnout was low, with only 883 voters casting ballots.

In the 5th District, William ÒBud” Stalker defeated Dan Johnson, garnering 667 votes to Johnson’s 414, according to unofficial results. Only 1,094 ballots were cast in the district, which has 8,249 registered voters.

Desmond said his campaign was successful because he focused on his accomplishments of the past two years while Trautsch ran a negative campaign.

He said the campaign featured Òso much garbage” and mudslinging that Òpeople were disgusted by it.”

ÒI’m happy,” Desmond said, adding that flood prevention, expanding his jobs program and redeveloping the 87th Street business district will be his top priorities.

Desmond said he was hopeful he could work with Streit in the coming four years.

ÒI would hope that now that he’s won, he can work with the rest of the board and move the village forward,” he said.

Stalker credited his victory to his business background and length of time living in Oak Lawn.

He also credited his close ties to St. Linus Parish as a reason for his win.

Stalker also enjoyed the support of outgoing Trustee Carol Quinlan, her predecessor Marge Joy and former village clerk Jayne Powers.

He said he’s willing to work with Bury.

ÒIf she wants to run good government, I will be on her side,” he said.

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