Elmhurst has a new mayor.
At about 10 p.m. Tuesday, Steve Morley declared victory in the three-way race that pitted him against fellow city aldermen Diane Gutenkauf and Mark Mulliner. Morley received about 43 percent of the vote.
"I really can't believe I'm standing here," Morley said in his acceptance speech at Hamburger Jones. "I really didn't think I'd be standing here."
He said the campaign has been "a heck of a journey."
"When I thought about running for mayor, and I thought about the current City Council, I thought, boy, if I could be mayor and work with the City Council I've been working with for the past four years, wouldn't that be fantastic?," he said
He said it was difficult for him to overcome two problems in reaching the decision to run.
"One, I don't like talking about myself," he said. "And the other is I don't like asking people for help."
He said he learned quickly from his supporters that he was going to have to "get over that."
"The support has been overwhelming," he said.
He talked about how he was raised in Elmhurst, participated with his son in Cub Scouts, coached baseball, and was not looking for anything in return, "just trying to do the right thing."
He said that when he was out campaigning, knocking on doors, he would get discouraged and feel like he couldn't win.
"... Then a guy opens the door and says, 'Hey, Steve. I know you. I coached your daughter,' " he said. "Then I'd go to the next door and they'd say, 'I know you, you helped me build my pinewood derby car.
"It's all of that stuff people in Elmhurst just do without looking to get anything back. I didn't realize I've been investing in that for the last 45 years, but tonight, the voters and the citizens of Elmhurst gave back. I really do appreciate it. I could live 100 years and (not be able to) give back all the support I've been given, but I will try."
Joining in supporting Morley were Elmhurst political heavyweights Lee Daniels and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin, former County Board member Jeff Redick, a number of Elmhurst aldermen and District 205 School Board members, former elected officials, friends who grew up with Morley and many of his family members.
"I do appreciate all of you, I appreciate my family, everybody who is here," he said.
Morley said he spoke to mayoral candidates Diane Gutenkauf and Mark Mulliner, who congratulated him.
Gutenkauf, who held her election night gathering at Cafe Amano, told Elmhurst Patch she was honored to have "so many wonderful supporters who really care deeply about the future of Elmhurst."
"I think it was a hard-fought campaign. I met really fabulous, interesting people and had lots of deep conversations about issues that affect people throughout the community," she said.
She said knocking on more than 7,000 doors during her campaign solidified something she's always believed.
"It has given me a real appreciation about how every neighborhood is just a little bit different, and decisions we make for the city have to fundamentally keep that in mind," she said. "It reinforced for me how when we make decisions on the City Council, we can't do that in a vacuum. We have to be working cooperatively with residents to make the best decisions we can."
She said she is ready to get back to work on City Council with no hard feelings.
"I think there were three dedicated candidates," she said. "I'm looking forward to the next two years of my term and to always focus on issues important to residents."
While we did catch up with him earlier in the night at Silverado Grill, Elmhurst Patch was not immediately able to contact Mulliner by phone Tuesday night after Morley's acceptance.
In Other Elmhurst Elections
The incumbents swept the contested races for School Board, Park Board and alderman, with the exception of the 1st Ward, where both candidates are newcomers. Only 23 votes separated incumbent Pat Wagner and Charles Mueller in the 7th Ward race. With all precincts counted, Wagner is the unofficial winner. Following are the results for city, school and park board races:
√ Steve Morley - 3,610
Mark Mulliner - 2,449
Diane Gutenkauf - 2,326
√Martha Deuter - 642
MaryNic Foster - 540
√Kevin York (I) - 833
Mike Baker - 504
√Chris Healy (I) - 979
Bob Kolb - 267
√Patrick Wagner (I) - 599
Charles Mueller - 576
ELMHURST UNIT DISTRICT 205
√ Jim Collins (I)- 4,922
√ Emily Bastedo - 4801
√ Margaret Harrell - 4,585
Alan Brinkmeier - 3,987
ELMHURST PARK BOARD
√ Patricia Morissette Moll (I) - 4,496
√ Vince Spaeth (I) - 3,908
Doug Ennis - 3,509
More election news here.