Updated Nov. 13, 2012 – 3 p.m.
The man who swept into office as a North Riverside village trustee in 2011 has set his sights on the mayor’s office.
Rocco DeSantis has announced he’s running for mayor of North Riverside, topping a slate of candidates who have dubbed themselves the Transparency and Accountability in Politics (TAP) party.
“As a team we can improve the village,” said DeSantis. “There will be more openness and accountability.”
A former police officer, DeSantis has turned to another retired police officer, Peter Culafic, to run as the party’s candidate for village clerk. Joining them as candidates for trustee are Luigi “Gino” Labellarte, Annabelle Downs and Marybelle Mandel.
Of DeSantis’ running mates, only Labellarte has run for office previously. In 2009, he ran for village trustee as part of the Every Resident Counts party slate. Also running for trustee on that slate was George Georgopoulos, who is now running as an independent for mayor, against DeSantis.
The Every Resident Counts slate, which was headed by Sylvester Hartigan, was thrown off the ballot due to deficiencies in the party’s nominating petitions. The candidates subsequently ran unsuccessfully as write-ins.
With DeSantis’ announcement, there are now three candidates vying to be elected mayor in North Riverside in April 2013.
Last month, the village’s VIP Party announced it was nominating Hubert Hermanek Jr., who is a village trustee, as its candidate for mayor.
VIP, which has held the mayor’s chair and a majority of the village board in North Riverside for more than two decades, is seeking to halt the momentum DeSantis seized in 2011. Running as an independent, DeSantis was the top vote-getter in a six-person race for three trustee spots.
H. Bob Demopoulos, who has now joined forces politically with DeSantis, also won election as a trustee in 2011 as an independent.
Two of the three incumbent VIP candidates were defeated in the election.