Anthony Calderone was all smiles on Election Night after defeating challenger Marty Tellalian in a tight race to win a fourth term as mayor of Forest Park.
Calderone and his supporters whooped it up at a victory party Tuesday night at Healy’s Westside, which is operated by Calderone loyalist and re-elected Commissioner Mark Hosty. The re-elected mayor, who is short in stature, climbed atop a chair to address a packed house of howling backers and express his gratitude.
“Thank you!” he shouted.
Calderone said he was disappointed by Tuesday’s low voter turnout but shouted, “A win is a win!” which drew hoorahs from the crowd.
“It is what it is,” he added, before stepping down from the chairs.
A few doors down on Madison Street, Tellalian and his supporters were gathered at Francesca’s Fiore.
“I’d like to congratulate Tony,” Tellalian said over the phone. “It was a close race … and I hope he’ll look at the people who supported me and look at the type of government that they’re interested in.”
“I’m sure his next term will be a good one,” Tellalian said.
During the race, both candidates branded themselves differently.
Calderone told supporters he wanted to focus on economic development. He ran mostly on past accomplishments – throughout his campaigning, he said next to nothing about any future plans except for a “vision” he has for a multimedia community center in the Forest Park Plaza. “Reliable leadership in uncertain times,” was one of his slogans, and it helped him land a fourth term in office.
Tellalian ran as a reformer and was critical of what he perceives as an insider culture that exists within village hall. He vowed to change that, if elected; in fact, the theme of his campaign was “participatory government.” He was also very vocal about the village’s spending in recent years, which he believes does not reflect the financial prudence that should accompany the village’s continued reduction in revenue.
In recent weeks, Calderone dismissed Tellalian’s concerns over the village’s spending as campaign rhetoric. Calderone has described the village’s finances “tight,” but noted that necessary cuts have been made and will continue to be made. He has also pointed out that the village is projecting roughly a $400,000 surplus.
The tension between the two candidates was visible during the campaign, but especially so when they disagreed on matters addressed by the village board. Tellalian, currently the commissioner of public property, regularly prodded the mayor to provide additional information whenever resolutions or ordinances were brought to a vote. What’s more, Tellalian frequently demanded discussion before voting on anything.
Calderone grabbed 1,548 votes (53.9 percent) and Tellalian got 1,346 votes (1,346).