Naperville is a city of approximately 144,000 residents, with eight candidates running for four Naperville city council seats in the April 4 Municipal election; one candidate out of every 18,000 residents. With the election 114 days from now, each candidate has a 50/50 chance of getting elected, four out of eight.
Incumbents typically have an advantage, but ‘typical’ is anything but typical in today’s elections. President-elect Donald Trump is the classic example that the unexpected can be the new norm. Of the eight city council candidates, four are incumbents including Judy Brodhead, Kevin Coyne, Kevin Gallaher, and John Krummen. The other four city council members (Becky Anderson, Patty Gustin, Paul Hinterlong, and Becky Obarski), gained a bye in this municipal election due to being among the top four vote getters in the last election. Of those four, only Hinterlong was an incumbent. The only other incumbent running for re-election in the last election was Judy Brodhead. Of the four candidates garnering more votes than Brodhead included three first-time-running candidates, Anderson Gustin and Obarski. What does all that mean? It appears Brodhead is slip-sliding off the dais. In two words, Brodhead is on ‘thin ice’ and it’s getting thinner. Eight years on the council might be her expiration date.
There are a few things a candidate can do to increase their 50/50 odds of getting elected, including come with a strong resume of leadership or accomplishment, and possess that ‘it factor’ or charisma. An incumbent has the advantage or disadvantage of track record on the council. The other thing a candidate can do is be among the first to file on the first day of filing which was November 21. Five of the eight did exactly that allowing them to participate in name-drawing to determine ballot order. Hence the first five candidates on the ballot are:
- Judy Brodhead*
- Michael Isaac
- John Krummen*
- Kevin Coyne*
- Julie Berkowicz
The remaining three candidates then participated in a name-drawing for the bottom three on the ballot including:
- Kevin Gallaher*
- Benny White
- Mike Strick
If each of the eight candidates were among a different group 18,000 residents, would they be the most qualified, probably not. But the eight are what we have. It’s too late to increase the number of candidates, and too late to include more qualified candidates, but it’s definitely not too late to choose the best four of the eight candidates for the next Naperville city council. We only get this chance every two years. We have 114 days to do due diligence on our part.