It's not uncommon for residents' phones to be ringing frequently during an election season, with automated calls coming from various candidates asking for votes and pollsters attempting to predict the outcome. With the April 9 Consolidate Election still two months away, one recent poll has created controversy and finger-pointing, and a bit of confusion.
A "robocall" that went out to Elmhurst residents last Thursday evening and Friday afternoon polled residents about Elmhurst's April mayoral election. It asked residents to press keys to answer questions about what they are looking for in a mayor.
Elmhurst Patch received a number of comments about the call on the site, as well as via email and Facebook. Residents opined that the call was unprofessional, confusing, long and tedious, causing some who started taking the poll to quit midway through. One resident said the questions asked were skewed negatively toward all three candidates, and some residents were called twice.
Elmhurst mayoral candidate and Aldermen Steve Morley (6th Ward) was called out by a commenter on Elmhurst Patch as the initiator of the call. The commenter questioned Morley's ethics and leadership ability, saying, "how incredibly sad is it that he already is going negative."
Morley told Elmhurst Patch on Friday that he had nothing to do with the robocall. He said he was surprised when he learned about the call from friends and that he didn't want it to be a distraction from the campaign.
"I did not conduct the call or solicit the call or have any involvement with it whatsoever, and I don't particularly care who did," he said.
"I don't need a poll to tell me what I stand for, why I'm running. I believe Elmhurst needs strong leadership, progressive solutions and a commitment to good government. That's what I offer and that's why I'm running for mayor."
Mayoral candidate and Alderman Mark Mulliner (7th Ward) also denied any involvement.
"We did not do, nor did our nonpartisan campaign pay to have done, the robo-survey Feb. 7," Mulliner said Friday. "There is no reason for our campaign to expend money for any kind of phone survey."
Alan Brinkmeier, who works for Mulliner's campaign and is running his own campaign for District 205 School Board, added, "... ours is an issues-based campaign about the future direction of integrity in Elmhurst government."
When contacted by Elmhurst Patch on Saturday, candidate Diane Gutenkauf (1st Ward) said she was aware of "several different campaign polls (that) are or have been conducted." She questioned why this is even an issue.
"Yes, my campaign has issued one poll," she said. "Polling is a common campaign tool. However, I don't believe the structure and content of the various polls is ever newsworthy."
She said she is focused on running an issues-based campaign for mayor.
"For the last six years on City Council, I have advocated for taxpayers and proposed reforms that will streamline our government and cut waste," she said. "Instead of worrying about rumors and mud-slinging, I challenge my opponents to engage me on the issues."