A 12-year incumbent of the District 91 Board of Education will lose her seat this month after collecting only 63 votes in a five-way race.
Catherine Denham, the lone incumbent in the contest, ran a write-in campaign against four other write-in candidates. The results were posted on the Cook County Clerk’s web site May 2.
Denham finished in the bottom three while Joan White and Mary Turek each secured a two-year seat on the school board. White, a former village hall employee, garnered 237 votes and Turek captured 182 votes. Turek is employed in the Cook County state’s attorney office in the criminal appeals division.
Challenger John Tricoci finished third in the race with 135 votes and Kristine Lazzara finished at the bottom of the field with 59 votes.
“I’m sure that Joan White and Mary Turek will do a great job,” Denham said. “For me, it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the school board the last 12 years. I’m proud that my votes were always based on how they would benefit the kids and how they would affect the taxpayers.”
The write-in campaigns were born after it became apparent that there weren’t enough candidates to fill the five seats up for election on April 17. Three incumbents ran uncontested races for four-year terms, meanwhile a pair of two-year terms sat vacant. After the deadline passed for candidate’s to have their names appear on the ballot, a flurry of new faces entered the contest.
Denham and fellow board member Steve Johnsen did not file for re-election to a four-year term. Incumbents Sean Blaylock and Francis Mott, both serving by appointment and therefore up for re-election, opted to run for those vacated seats. It was this movement that created the vacancies in the two two-year terms.
Denham eventually filed to run as a write-in candidate for one of the vacated seats.
“I’m very excited,” Turek said of her election victory. “I’m ready to get to work.”
White could not be reached for comment.
Those who won seats on the District 91 board will be sworn in at the next meeting on May 10.