If anyone feared that nine candidates on the ballot for the village trustees’ race in Brookfield might spell trouble for the PEP Party, those worries were quickly dispelled Tuesday night.
As election returns started rolling in, it became readily apparent that PEP, which has had a stranglehold on the Brookfield Village Board since 2005, was going to roll to another sweep.
With all 14 precincts reporting, PEP unofficially won all three seats easily. Michelle Ryan and Ryan Evans finished first and second, respectively, with 1,149 and 1,127 votes. And David LeClere, who served a term as trustee from 2007-11, was elected to the village board once more with 985 votes.
“I think the voters have a lot of confidence in the PEP Party and the candidates they put forward,” said Ryan, who was appointed to the board in 2013 when Kit Ketchmark was elected village president.
“I’m honored by [being the top vote-getter],” she added. “We have a great community and I’m looking forward to serving everybody to the level of confidence they’ve shown toward me.”
For his part, LeClere was gratified voters ushered him back onto the village board after a four year absence.
“I was ready to go. I missed being on the board versus in another position,” LeClere said. “I’m just glad it turned out the way it did. I’m ready to go to work.”
The next three places were taken by candidates on the Citizens Action Party slate, Mark Rogers (749), John Marino (613) and Daniel Gribben (546).
Rogers, who watched the returns roll in from South Carolina, where he’s taking care of his ailing father, said he expects to have another go at running for office in two years. He said he called Michael Garvey, a current PEP trustee, to congratulate the party on its result, but also to let him know he wasn’t going away.
“I told him I won’t stop attending board meetings and will keep holding you guys accountable,” Rogers said.
Rogers said the low voter turnout, which may not have reached 20 percent in Brookfield, made it hard to decipher the message being sent by voters.
“For 81 percent of the people it wasn’t enough to come out and vote,” Rogers said. “[PEP] had their base and they worked it.”
Finishing in the bottom three were members of the United Residents Party slate, including former village trustee Michael Towner (472), James Boyle (445) and Carla Close Prosen (419).
Towner, who was a two-term trustee with PEP from 2005 to 2013, said the crowded field likely hurt his party’s slate. Despite the low vote totals, Towner said he wasn’t through.
“We have something to build on,” Towner said. “We’re coming out of this. Over the next two years, we’ll build on this, stay involved and see what we can do.”
Asked what the results said about PEP’s apparent lock on local voters, Towner admitted, “They’re pretty dominant at the moment. But I’ll be interested to look at the actual precinct numbers and see who voted where.”
Ryan said the fact that there were nine candidates for the race showed people were interested in making a difference in Brookfield.
“I hope we can capture some of that energy moving forward,” Ryan said.