With all precincts reporting, incumbent Mayor Anthony Calderone narrowly beat challenger Chris Harris by 73 votes, but Harris says Tuesday night the election’s not over yet.
Calderone won 1,372 votes to Harris’s 1,299. Calderone gave a speech to supporters at Healy’s Westside bar on Madison Street, welcoming newly elected commissioners Rachell Entler, Joe Byrnes and Dan Novak.
“The most important job now is we need to begin to mend the community,” Calderone said. “We’ve been divided too long and we need to unite all of us. I’m going to need your help getting that done.”
Novak took the most votes in the commissioner race, earning 1,905 votes, followed by Byrnes with 1,900, Entler with 1,873, Tom Mannix with 1,238 and Mark Hosty with 1,175.
Meanwhile, down the street at Chalk bar, Harris and supporters were still trying to figure out what to do next. Harris said he’s not yet ready to concede the race. Harris, currently a village commissioner, says he’s waiting to see the final results once absentee, mail-in and provisional ballots have been counted.
“We have people researching it,” he said.
Calderone said in an interview that he had not received a call from Harris as of about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday.
He told supporters that his victory is a “win for Forest Park,” adding, “Tonight is a sad night for me.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of serving with someone on my side for 16 years — his name is Mark Hosty,” he said.
Hosty, who attended the election party at the bar he manages, declined to comment on the results.
Forest Park Commissioner-elect Rachell Entler says she’s excited by the outcome of the election.
“Four months ago, I never would have thought I would have been here. It happened because of so many people, not just me,” she said.
She says the first order of business is to work on establishing a diversity committee. She says Anthony Calderone “was such a huge help for me.”
She said of Calderone’s race against Chris Harris, “I know it’s tight but I hope he ends up on top.”
Byrnes said elected officials now need to “put everything aside and move forward.”
He said he believes Dan Novak, the only candidate aside from Harris who did not run on a slate with Calderone, will “be an asset to the council.”
Byrnes said he looks forward to working with the new council for the betterment of Forest Park.
“I’m going to enjoy this night,” Byrnes said, “because tomorrow I have to get up early and to pick up all those (election) signs.”