CHICAGO - We will know by Tuesday night the new mayors and school board members that voters have chosen in hundreds of suburban communities.
Former President Donald Trump put the spotlight on one contest in Lake County, where, like the rest of the region, polls open at 6 a.m.
While under federal indictment related to a multi-million dollar gambling conspiracy, Casey Urlacher did not file for re-election as mayor of Mattawa. But after President Trump pardoned him, Urlacher, brother of a Chicago Bears Hall-of-Famer, jumped into the contest as a write-in candidate facing former mayor Jess Ray.
"And prior to the Trump pardon, he was negotiating a plea deal which would have turned him into a felon. That's for the voters to decide. It's their moral compass that's at stake here," Ray said.
Ray was Mattawa’s mayor for one term, prior to Urlacher's two terms. Ray says his "Back to the Future Party" plans to preserve the rural roots of the wealthy north suburb, where zoning generally requires a minimum of five acres per property.
"A semi-rural property and community with a lot of agricultural history, with horses, with bees, with chickens," ray said.
Urlacher declined repeated interview requests from FOX 32 News. After an earlier version of this story aired, he provided a written statement that did not mention his federal indictment or the presidential pardon.
He claimed the village is "in the strongest financial position...ever" and promised "historic tax rebates for our residents."
While many voters skip these hyper-local, off-year elections, there is more at stake than usual in some school board contests. A wave of new candidates are debating pandemic-related shutdowns and policies from Evanston to Barrington to Naperville.