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No go for Mongo — McMichael loses Romeoville mayor’s bid; incumbents out in Dolton, Oak Lawn

Former Chicago Bear Romeoville mayoral candidate Steve McMichael his restaurant Mongo McMichaels electinight Tuesday April 9 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times

Former Chicago Bear and Romeoville mayoral candidate Steve McMichael at his restaurant, Mongo McMichaels, on election night Tuesday, April 9, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 11, 2013 6:43AM



The aura of the 1985 Chicago Bears ultimately wasn’t enough for Steve McMichael to oust Romeoville Mayor John Noak as the leader of the southwest suburb.

Noak secured about 62 percent of the vote to McMichael’s 38 percent with all precincts reporting Tuesday.

McMichael, a member of the Bears’ Super Bowl championship team and owner of Mongo McMichael’s in the Will County suburb, had boasted about using his celebrity status to try to win the election.

Dressed all in black and wearing an American flag pin in his lapel, he congratulated Noak for running a good campaign and said, “Boy, did I learn a lesson.” But he said he planned to stay in the village and raise his daughter.

“There is another election in four years, isn’t there?” he said.

Noak, in a phone interview, mostly focused on Romeoville’s successes. But he also said the voters there “knew the issues, and the issues were what was most important to them.”

“I was never worried,” Noak said after winning his second full term. “I always believed in the voters.”

In other south suburban contests, Cook County results showed Riley H. Rogers besting Dolton Mayor Ronnie C. Lewis. Rogers, who had 44.43 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the numbers. Lewis, who had 22.23 percent of the vote, said earlier in the evening he wasn’t holding out hope of keeping his office.

“I don’t know there’s any reason to hold out any hope,” Lewis said, “because the numbers are looking bad.”

Oak Lawn Mayor Dave Heilmann also trailed challenger Sandra Bury, believed to be the first woman elected mayor of Oak Lawn with 53.33 percent of the vote with all but two precincts reporting. She said the victory was due to “teamwork.”

“The people of Oak Lawn have spoken,” she said. “It’s time to do the people’s work again and put Oak Lawn first.”

Heilmann, who secured 46.67 percent of the vote, told supporters, “You don’t know why people vote the way they do, but you respect it.”

He said he has no regrets. “You say, ‘good luck, do well, do great things for the community.’”

Farther south, in Tinley Park, incumbent Ed Zabrocki has been mayor so long a downtown plaza bears his name. And Tuesday night, he handily bested challenger Stephen Eberhardt, an attorney.

Zabrocki, who led with about 70 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting, called it a “validation of the work” by himself, the village trustees and the staff.

Eberhardt has said he ran because Zabrocki has been mayor since 1981. The incumbent won his ninth term Tuesday.

“It was a group effort,” Zabrocki said.

Domingo Vargas was on his way to becoming the new mayor of Blue Island with about 62 percent of the vote. And Louis Presta was leading in Crestwood with about 44 percent of the vote, where Mayor Robert Stranczek chose not to run.

Stranczek took over as Crestwood’s mayor in October 2007 after the retirement of his father, Chester. Presta said the win “feels great.”

“I just want to move on and move Crestwood forward,” Presta said.

Contributing: Natasha Korecki, Steve Metsch, Cindy Cain, Becky Schlikerman, Bob Rakow



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