Brookfield voters gave the PEP Party a strong vote of confidence on April 4, with all of the party’s candidates sweeping elections for village president, clerk and trustee.
Despite some late generous campaign funding, a barrage of signs at polling places on Election Day and an eleventh-hour village wide robocall, candidates from the Common Sense Party slate fared badly at the polls.
With all 12 precincts reporting, unofficial results showed that incumbent Brookfield Village President Kit Ketchmark triumphed over challenger Roberto “Bobby” Garcia by a margin of 71.6 percent to 28.4 percent of the vote.
When Ketchmark was elected to his first term as president in 2013, he faced two challengers but amassed just 54 percent of the vote.
“It was an interesting election,” said Ketchmark in a phone interview Tuesday night from PEP’s celebratory get-together at Irish Times. “We weren’t quite sure what issues they were going after, so we tried to continue to do what we’ve done in the past. I think a lot of it is about what we’ve done and the stage we set.”
Meanwhile, incumbent Clerk Brigid Weber won by a similar margin over Common Sense Party challenger Leilani “Lani” Cappetta, with Weber capturing 71.46 percent of the vote to Cappetta’s 28.54 percent.
In the race for three trustee seats, PEP Party candidates Michael Garvey, Nicole Gilhooley and Edward Cote won by margins of a little more than 2-to-1 over Common Sense Party candidates Edward “E.J.” Frantzen, Kathleen Hillmann and Sherry Lada.
From the start of the race back in December when candidates filed nominating petitions, it was clear that the choice for voters was whether they trusted a group of relative newcomers with little in the way of community-wide involvement to take the helm at village hall.
Garcia, a Cicero police officer with a handful of political campaigns under his belt, filed nominating petitions with just an hour to spare on the final day to do so and then got a late start on the campaign, with the party’s website going live after March 1. He admitted the late start probably hurt.
“We got a late start, and I think we needed to be more direct with the changes we wanted to make,” Garcia said.
Garcia said he wasn’t going away after last week’s loss.
“There’s a lot of work to be done in the village, and we’ll make every attempt to work with the incumbent administration in the interest of moving Brookfield forward,’ Garcia said.
Apart from Garcia, the party’s candidates for trustee were less visible. Two of the three didn’t participate in a public forum at the Brookfield Village Hall in March and only one participated in the Landmark endorsement interview session for trustee candidates.
The party also published a campaign video in late March, but it didn’t feature one of the slate’s trustee candidates, Frantzen.
In the final weeks of the race, the Common Sense Party got a couple of generous donations from the union that represents the village public works employees and a video gambling machine vendor, which they parlayed into yard signs, a robocall and a direct mail piece aimed at senior citizen voters.
“It seemed their campaign was ‘change,’ the general theme, and I don’t think the majority of voters agreed with that,” Ketchmark said.
Ketchmark said he knows that there are still issues for the village board to resolve.
“We accept that and we’re ready to get back to work,” Ketchmark said.