Tuesday, April 05, 2011

New Mayors for C'dale, H'burg and P'ville

Cities play an important role in tourism in Southern Illinois and while tourism never plays a key role in city races whoever wins those races tend to play an important role in tourism, even if just indirectly.

Marion voters re-elected Mayor Bob Butler to a 13th term in a three-way race with 58 percent of the vote. Ironically, prior to the Millennium Development project Butler was actually contemplating retirement.

In Franklin County, voters kept incumbent Mayor Gary Kraft and the entire city council in Benton. Among his other points Kraft was one of the organizers and a key volunteer in developing the Franklin County Jail Museum. Down the road in West Frankfort, voters gave Tom Jordan his own four-year term as mayor following his appointment last year first as finance commissioner and then stepping up as mayor when Marion Presley died.

Over in Perry County voters weren't so satisfied. DuQuoin voters barely returned John Rednour as mayor in what appears to be the closest race in the region. He defeated a strong challenge by Guy Alongi by just 16 votes. To the northwest in Pinckneyville voters replaced incumbent Mayor Joe Holder with Finance Commissioner August Kellerman in a four-way race.

In Carbondale, Joel Fritzler who came in third in the primary surged ahead and took the lead in today's general election to succeed Brad Cole who didn't run and has taken a job on the staff of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk.

Last but not least, former Saline County Board Chairman and state representative candidate Eric Gregg won an open five-way race for mayor of Harrisburg. In Eldorado incumbent Mayor Rocky James easily defeated his challenger.

In another race that will impact tourism challengers swept out four incumbents in the Marion Unit 2 District school board race. What that means for the administration is unknown, but it's expected that the district will now be dropping its ridiculous lawsuit over the Williamson County Pavilion and whether or not the non-profit corporation that operates the city-owned property should be paying property taxes.

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