By 8:30 p.m., the chanting of “Tony! Tony! Tony!” could be heard outside of Doc Ryan’s on Madison Street. With all 12 precincts reporting from Forest Park, Mayor Anthony Calderone emerged victorious as he captured more than 53 percent of the vote in the race for mayor.
This will be the Calderone’s third term. Steinbach captured 46.5 percent of the votes; she was Calderone’s first opponent since he took office in 1999.
“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Calderone said as he celebrated the win. “The citizens of Forest Park have shown that they still have confidence in me. They see my records and want to see more progress.”
Calderone said that the top priorities of his new term will include addressing the village’s zoning issues and spurring more new development.
In the primary election in late February, Calderone captured 52 percent of the votes as Steinbach garnered 29.6 percent. Mathematically, Calderone’s victory in the primary posed a daunting task to Steinbach and her campaign. Steinbach needed to chip away at a significant amount of Calderone’s votes. As the voting booths closed, it appeared that Steinbach could not.
“I am disappointed,” Steinbach said. “But this has been a positive experience, and I was happy with my campaign. I think that a lot more of the Forest Park citizens were engaged during this election season.”
Steinbach was uncertain as to whether she would run again. However, during her speech, Steinbach did yell “Let’s not give up!” to her many supporters.
Throughout most of the night, Calderone supporters at Doc Ryan’s showed quite a bit of excitement and enthusiasm, though some supporters were hesitant to predict any outcome ahead of the county clerk’s unofficial results.
“Mayor Calderone did everything he could,” Commissioner Tim Gillian said before the results were in. “Who knows how the low-voter turnout will affect this evening.”
Meanwhile, Steinbach had a smaller crowd at Jimmy’s Place, yet their confidence and enthusiasm were present. The issue of the voters’ turnout, though, seemed to permeate at Steinbach’s camp as well.
“It’s surprising to see such a low turnout from the voters,” council candidate Jerry Webster said while attending Steinbach’s Election Day gathering at Jimmy’s Place “Especially considering how many voters turned out for the primaries.”
The election between Calderone and Steinbach attained greater attention within Forest Park as their feud became more public. The two candidates grew up together and attended the same grammar school. Even as adults, Calderone, Steinbach and their respective families often socialized. The schism began to occur as each formed opposing political decisions and philosophies in recent years.
Questions also arose between the two candidates regarding what determines a clean political campaign. The Forest Park Review has learned that in a legal statement addressed to Steinbach from Calderone’s lawyer, Calderone has accused Steinbach of slander, citing that calls were made to Forest Park voters that suggested a vote for Calderone “is a vote for corruption.”
Neither candidate returned calls regarding the issue.
“I’ve always been an amenable person,” Calderone said after learning he had won the election. “And, I will always listen. It just depends if someone shows the initiative.”