Sean Casten

Sean Casten

Casten’s DuPage advantage helps sink Pekau in Congress race

PEKAU

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau addresses his supporters Tuesday night after losing the election for a Congressional seat. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

By Jeff Vorva

The mayor will stay mayor.

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau has been saying all along that if he won the 6th District Congressional seat, he would not do double duty and work both jobs.

It appears the Republican will only have one job after he lost Tuesday’s election to incumbent Sean Casten. Unofficial results showed he was defeated 53.8% to 46.20% with 97 percent of precincts reporting. Vote totals will not become official until they are ratified in the coming weeks.

Casten powered past Pekau in his home area of DuPage County 58%-42%. Pekau fared better in Cook County with Casten having a 50.09%-49.91% edge.

“I was concerned when DuPage dropped the early mail-in votes,” Pekau said. “With the votes in Chicago and Cook County, we weren’t able to make up that deficit.”

Casten was joyful and then tearful as he addressed his supporters Tuesday night.

“Well…we won…again,” he said. “I’m feeling good.”

But then he talked about his 17-year-old daughter, Gwen, who died in her sleep on June 13 and he got emotional.

“I’ve had a really, really hard five months,” he said. “The last time I was in a room like this Gwen was here. I have a picture of her on my desk. It’s so hard not to have her here.”

Pekau told his supporters in Orland Park that he was still the mayor and he would work hard to serve the residents.

“I know what the Congressional job looks like and this is a better job,” he said of being mayor. “I will continue to keep Orland Park safe and make it a place where people want to live.

“We have a great community but to be honest, we’re going to have to button up because it’s going to be a bit of a rough ride. We’re going to be on our own. We have been for some time, and we did well and we will continue to do that looking forward.”

As late as October 22, Pekau’s campaign sent out an email quoting Pekau as saying, “Our race is still a toss-up, as is the fight to retake a Congressional Majority, and our positioning in the polls is on VERY shaky ground.”

But as late as Monday, some insiders were saying that it was looking good for Pekau to win the election.

The 6th District has gone through a drastic change for this election, which includes more of the south suburbs.

The district includes all or parts of Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Park, Oak Lawn, Hickory Hills, Evergreen Worth, Chicago Ridge, Palos Hills Bridgeview, Bedford Park, Willow Springs, Countryside, Hodgkins and portions of Chicago’s Clearing and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods.

But it also branched out to places such as Elmhurst, Lombard, Downers Grove and Darien.

To get to Tuesday’s finals, Pekau fended off five other primary candidates in June while Casten beat out 3rd District representative Marie Newman.

 

 

SIGN scaled

A supporter holds up a sign during a watch party hosted by Keith Pekau on election night, Tuesday.

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