The Office of the Cook County Clerk released the precinct-level April election results, giving a closer look at how different parts of Forest Park voted.
In the mayoral election, not only did incumbent Rory Hoskins win by an overwhelming margin, but challenger John Doss didn’t win a single precinct among the village’s 10 precincts. On the village commissioner side, Jessica Voogd got the highest number of votes, earning 20.79% of the vote, and won most of the precincts, even if, in some cases, by a very small margin. Incumbent Maria Maxham, who won her first election after being appointed to her seat in July 2021, came a close second, getting 20.52% of the vote and winning two precincts. Incumbent Ryan Nero, who got the third-highest number of votes, or 18.24% of the vote, won one precinct.
The Review also looked at the candidates’ most recent quarterly reports, which cover campaign spending up to Election Day. It showed that, while Hoskins had an overwhelming financial edge over Doss, things were less cut and dried for village commissioners. Maxham, who had the biggest campaign war chest and benefitted from donations from Hoskins, came in second to Hoskins. And commissioner-elect Michelle Melin-Rogovin won largely on the strength of the loans and donations she made to her own campaign.
While Voogd won most precincts, there were several where she was neck-in-neck with Maxham. In the 8th Precinct, which encompasses the largely commercial and industrial portions of the south half of the village, Voogd had 155 votes to Maxham’s 154. Voogd also beat Maxham by one vote in the 67th Precinct, which includes much of the Madison Street corridor between Beloit Avenue and Harlem Avenue, and the section of the Harlem Avenue corridor between Randolph Street and Eisenhower Expressway.
Maxham won two precincts at the north tip of Forest Park, mostly north of Randolph Street. The results were close in the 61st Precinct, the western half of the area, with Maxham beating Voogd by five votes.
Nero won the 68th Precinct, which falls between Adams Street, Beloit Avenue, Harrison Street, Marengo Avenue and the section of Circle Avenue south of Eisenhower Expressway. His own home is located just outside the precinct.
In the mayoral race, the only precincts where the race was anywhere close were the 67th Precinct, where Hoskins led by 19 votes, 68th Precinct, where Hoskins led by 17 votes, and 76th Precinct, which mostly includes the residential portion of the Harlem Avenue corridor south of the Eisenhower Expressway, where Hoskins led by 41 votes,
On May 8, the new village council will be sworn in, and they will choose which commissioner leads which departments by a simple majority vote. The commissioners who got the highest number of votes traditionally got to pick their department, and they tended to choose Accounts & Finances. The position gives them oversight over village finances and expenditures, as well as collective bargaining agreements. That post doubles as the village council vice-president. Per the Forest Park municipal code, this means that they “shall preside over the village council and perform all the usual duties of the mayor” if the mayor’s office becomes vacant or “or in the absence of the mayor, or his inability to act.”
While this could make Voogd the most powerful commissioner on the council, the tradition hasn’t always been followed. In 2011, then-commissioner Hoskins got the highest number of votes, but then-commissioners Chris Harris and Mark Hosty and then-mayor Anthony Calderone voted as a block to give Hosty the seat instead. Hoskins was selected as Commissioner of Public Health & Safety.
Hoskins started actively fundraising last spring, raising $54,866 in 2022 and another $7,400 in 2023. Some of the biggest contributions came from Chicago area labor unions. Most notably, Iron Workers Local Union #1 contributed a total of $4,000, while Chicagoland Operators Joint Laborers Management Political Action Committee donated a total of $2,000, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters donated $1,500, and LIUNA Chicago Laborers’ District Council construction and municipal workers union donated $1,000.
Hoskins got some help from local political heavyweights. Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, who serves as the Proviso Township Democratic Committeeperson, donated $1,000, while a political action committee for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon (39th) donated $250.
It isn’t unusual for companies that do business with a municipality to donate to incumbent elected officials, and the mayoral race was no exception. Most notably, Christopher Burke Engineering, which handles construction project planning for Forest Park, donated a total of $3,000 to Hoskins’ campaign. Omar Fakhouri, who sought to open a craft cannabis grower last year, donated a total of $550.
Hoskins spent a decent portion to help Maxham win, donating $750 to her campaign and spending another $3,549 to pay for her campaign mailers. He also donated $500 to Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and $250 to Harmon’s campaign fund.
By contrast, Doss raised a total of $14,200 throughout the entire campaign cycle, and he loaned $1,100 to his campaign. The one labor contribution he got was $500 from Liquor and Allied Workers Union #3. He got donations from two Republican politicians – $500 from DuPage County Board member Sam Tornatore and another $500 from former Illinois State House Rep. Dennis Reboletti. Most large contributions came from a mix of individual donors and businesses, and there were cases of businesses donating to both candidates. Nobbs Towing donated $2,000 to Doss and $1,000 to Hoskins.
Looking at the commissioner races, Voogd raised a total of $6,999, mostly from individual donors, but also from Motion Picture Studio Mechanics Local #476 union. Notably, she got $500 from Forest Park Historical Society President Mark Boroughf, who mulled a run for commissioner this year but ultimately decided to pass. The campaign also got a $300 loan from Voogd’s husband, Daniel Marcus.
Maxham raised a total of $7,492, with the largest donor being Hoskins. She also got a $200 donation from community activist and Environmental Control Commission member Etta Worthington, and a $250 donation from Iron Workers Union #1. The remaining larger donations are a mix of individual donations and donations from local businesses.
Nero raised a total of $5,857, mostly from individual donors.
Melin-Rogovin stands out because the majority of her campaign funding came from money she gave to her own campaign either as loans or as donations. The only funding her campaign got in 2022 was a total of $4.997 she donated to her own campaign. In 2023, Melin-Rogovin loaned a total of $5,607 to her campaign, but she also got $4,180 in small contributions during the same period.
Challenger Ryan Russ raised a total of $4,089, with $2,407 coming from small contributions. All but one large donation came from Forest Park and west suburban business. Notably, Mohr Oil donated $300, and $299 came from Dolphin Promotions.
The Review was unable to find campaign finance reports from Joe Landgrebe, a candidate for commissioner.