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O’Connor keeps seat in high-stakes race

Alderman-At-Large incumbent Bob O'Connor center watches as early results come  with MarthWomack from Aurorleft his wife Mary O'Connor right

Alderman-At-Large incumbent Bob O'Connor, center, watches as early results come in with Martha Womack from Aurora, left, and his wife Mary O'Connor, right on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at Reulands in Aurora. | Brian Powers~Sun Times Media

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Updated: April 10, 2013 10:51AM

Bob O’Connor will get his eighth term.

Seven-term incumbent O’Connor keeps his seat in the at-large race against well-known and outspoken challenger Rick Lawrence, current 4th Ward alderman.

O’Connor, a real estate attorney, held 68 percent of the vote over Lawrence’s 32 percent. With all precincts reporting, O’Connor led Lawrence by more than 2,800 votes.

The race, although civil, had high stakes for both O’Connor and Lawrence.

Although some may have expected the race to be closer, Lawrence didn’t run a full-blown campaign, O’Connor said at Reuland’s on Oak Avenue surrounded by supporters Tuesday night.

“I didn’t have any expectations, when you run for the same office seven times, you’re appreciative for the support whatever it is,” O’Connor said. “I’m satisfied; I did the campaign the way I wanted to and I think people know who I am and what I’m involved in.”

Lawrence, who served two terms as 4th Ward alderman, said that even if he was knocked from his spot on City Council, that he would remain a vocal critic of Mayor Tom Weisner. Weisner was unopposed in his third mayoral bid Tuesday night, and celebrated with supporters at the Two Brothers Roundhouse.

At home Tuesday night, Lawrence, who owns Aurora-based Nuyen’s Awnings, said he was relieved and proud of what he’s done as 4th Ward alderman.

“We changed a lot on the ward. I never took any money, I didn’t get into anything corrupt, and I’m pretty proud of that,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he plans to stay in Aurora but out of city politics.

“I don’t like being in Aurora and this city is very corrupt,” Lawrence said. “But I’m not going to stand by while people waste my money and my neighbors’ money.”

Although a longterm incumbent, O’Connor has faced opposition in past at-large bids. In 2009, O’Connor was re-elected over write-in candidate Guadalupe Garcia; in 2005, over Rev. Jeffrey Donelson; in 2001, over Aurora newcomer Alicia Kirk.

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