Tari Renner declared victory around 9 p.m. Tuesday night at Rosie's in Bloomington. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
By Paul Morello, Bryan Bloodworth and Zach Dietmeier
BLOOMINGTON - Tari Renner came up 15 votes shy in the 2009 Bloomington mayoral race, but got the job done Tuesday by a margin of about 1,500 tallies.
"Tonight, a new era of openness and transparency begins in Bloomington," Renner said to supporters at Rosie's in Downtown Bloomington.
Renner captured 51.5 percent of the vote (5,003). Challengers John Hanson had 36 percent (3,466) and Lex Green finished with 13 percent (1,246).
"I'm really gratified that the voters of Bloomington said they want pro-active leadership, that we are a changing dynamic community and that we want a mayor who is going to lead, a mayor who's going to make policy," said Renner. "I'm looking forward to beginning to go to work in the morning."
Renner said he already plans to fulfill a campaign promise and institute bi-monthly city hall open houses on the Friday before each council meeting.
"I will be sworn in on May 1st and May 13th is the first council meeting, so the first Friday that we're going to have an open house is Friday May 10th," he said.
The Illinois Wesleyan University political science professor and former McLean County Board member takes the reins from Steve Stockton, who chose not to run for a third term.
Elsewhere, Bloomington mayoral candidate John Hanson tearfully told his campaign they gave their all but just came up short.
Veteran Bloomington councilman Jim Fruin, who ran unopposed in Ward 9, believes the chemistry of the Council will be important.
“With our change in our make-up working together – chemistry and unity and moving forward is so important – so I think any time you change players chemistry is so important,” said Fruin. “That’s one thing we are going to have to work on.”
Fruin also said the new mayor will need the support of the Council to be effective.
“The mayor really is as effective as the cohesiveness of the council,” said the 14-year veteran of the council.
McDade, who garnered 58 percent of the vote defeated Matthew Koetters, 620-443, is excited about another term.
“Bloomington is a great city and I’m very honored that the voters have chosen me to represent them for the next four years," she said. "Our Council has a lot of important decisions to make.
"We have a lot of opportunities to move our city forward. We can continue to focus on fiscal responsibility, improving our infrastructure and listening to our citizens and giving everyone a voice on the city council.
Black, who is currently serving his second term on the McLean County Board, is looking forward to serving the voters on the west-side of Bloomington.
"I’m really excited to get involved,” said Black. “I’m really excited to take on the challenges that the west-side has. I’m open and accessible. I want to hear from residents. I want to hear from constituents. I want to hear what they have to say and any ideas they have to solve our challenges."
He also is excited about beginning his term with Renner at the top.
“It’s going to be great," he added. " think with Tari’s leadership we’re going to be able to get things done on the Council. I’m ready to go. Being on the County Board for three years, I have excessive local government experience. I know how to make things happen and Bloomington definitely needs that.”
Black had 60 percent of the vote (447) to defeat Bernie Uszcienski (179) and Ryan Fiala (117).
Mwilambwe outdistanced Lane Hansen (581-522), while Lower defeated write-in candidate Jamie Mathy, 614-480.
Additionally, Bloomington voted in favor of electric aggregation, 54 percent to 46 percent.
For Bloomington Township Supervisor, Republican Deb Skillrud handily defeated Democrat Stephanie Uzueta 69 to 31 percent.
Heartland Community College Board of Trustee winners were Patrick Hardesty, Donald Gibb and Jeffrey Flessner.
The top three votegetters on the Unit 5 school board were Meta Mickens-Baker, Todd Ferguson and John Puzauskas.
Voter turnout in McLean County was 20 percent and 21 percent in Bloomington.