Brookfield’s PEP Party rolled to another victory Tuesday in election for village president and trustee. With all 14 precincts reporting, Kit Ketchmark finished far ahead of his two independent rivals, Bill Russ and Michael Towner.
Unofficially, Ketchmark garnered 1,306 votes. Russ finished second with 617 votes while Towner ended the night third with 462 votes.
“It’s exciting and a tremendous amount of responsibility,” said Ketchmark. “We’ve laid the foundation and have taken great strides to improve. Voters want to see us continue with what we’ve started with economic development and infrastructure repairs.”
Meanwhile, PEP’s trustee candidates — Nicole Gilhooley, Michael Garvey and Brian Oberhauser — eased to a sweep against three independent candidates. The PEP trio was led by Garvey (1,453 votes), followed by Gilhooley (1,404) and Oberhauser (1,324).
Independent trustee candidate Mitch Mierop, who was aligned with Russ, finished fourth with 863 votes. He was followed by Yvonne Prause, who was aligned with Towner (855 votes), and independent Daniel Gribben (830 votes).
It was the fifth consecutive village election sweep for PEP, whose streak began in 2005 when the party reclaimed the entire village board, led by Garvey, who will go from a two-term president back to trustee.
Cathy Colgrass Edwards, another PEP Party member and two-term village trustee, was the lone candidate for village clerk. She won her uncontested race by picking up 1,891 votes.
While there were plenty of candidates running for office this year, the campaign in Brookfield was a relatively quiet one from start to finish. It was a race that also drew much less interest than the race four years ago, when PEP also swept to a win.
In 2009, 3,727 voters cast ballots in the race for president. In 2013, just 2,385 showed up at the polls. The Cook County Clerk unofficially estimated voter turnout in Brookfield at about 20 percent.
Towner expressed disappointment in the outcome of the election, saying he went into Tuesday believing he had a good shot at unseating the PEP Party in the president’s chair.
“I was encouraged, even at the polls,” Towner said. “But it didn’t work out that way. Good luck to Kit and the PEP board.”
Asked if he had given any thought to future runs for office in Brookfield, Towner indicated that the 2013 election may be his last.
“My wife and I talked about giving it this shot and then moving on,” said Towner. “I’ll be an active voter and resident, but I don’t know if there will be any more political activity.”
Towner left the PEP Party last September when the party declined to slate him as its presidential candidate. Until that time he had been a party stalwart. He served two consecutive terms as a trustee, from 2005 to 2013, almost all of that time as a PEP member.
“It’s been an honor to serve the residents of Brookfield,” said Towner. “I worked to make it a better place as I walked out.”
Ketchmark wished Towner well.
“Mike has the best interests of Brookfield in mind,” said Ketchmark, who added he had received a call from Towner congratulating him on his win. “We hope he stays involved.”
Russ could not be reached for comment.