The race for mayor in a Chicago suburb made national headlines leading up to Tuesday’s Election Night, as it was seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump.
For more than three decades, Roger Claar has served as mayor of the village of Bolingbrook – but a decision to a host a pro-Trump rally turned his reelection bid into a national story.
“There are some people that are excited because of that association with trump, I think there are those that are very upset about it,” Claar said.
In 2016, Claar held a rally for then-candidate Trump, which did not sit well with community members like Will County Board member Jackie Traynere, who decided to run against the longtime Republican incumbent.
“Our community is so immigrant-driven, we have over 50 percent minorities in our community, and Trump’s message of hate toward all immigrants was not welcome here,” Traynere said.
The race made national headlines, including a lengthy feature in the New York Times, in which Claar said he felt he shouldn’t be judged based on the rally.
“I think it’s unfortunate that people would make a decision based on one incident in 31 years, but that’s their prerogative,” Claar said. “People can vote for a candidate who they think represents them best.”
Claar said Traynere had help campaigning from some heavy-hitting Democrats, including Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as billionaire venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker – who might make a run for governor of Illinois.
Traynere said she ran because she felt there needed to be a change in the village.
“The real reason we’re running is to clean up our local government, to oust a mayor who has forgotten why he ran,” she said.
As of late Tuesday night, Claar held a narrow lead of approximately 100 votes over Traynere, but the county clerk’s office said mail-in ballots will still need to be tallied and results will be officially announced on April 24.